Saturday, 24 October 2020

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman

Finished October 20
The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sánchez, translated by Lucy Greaves


This light book has some mystery, some romance, and a lot of fun. Atticus Craftsman is the younger son of a British publisher. He is a bit of a playboy, but hasn't travelled much after his jaunts as a youth, and never goes anywhere without a good supply of Earl Grey tea. His father's company has set up small magazines in a number of countries to promote their books and the literary scene in general. They are all making money expect for the one in Spain, and so the senior Craftsman, Marlow, has decided it is time to shut it down. He is sending Atticus to do the job. 
The head of the Spanish office, former librarian Berta Quiñones, has been given a heads up about what is coming, and calls her staff in on a Sunday to discuss strategy. She has worked hard to keep costs low and doesn't understand why their publication is failing from the corporate view. 
The staff consists of Soleá, a young Andulasian woman with a journalism degree and literary aspirations, Maria a worried married woman with childcare issues, Asunción, a divorced mother who loves food and books, and Gaby a young bride eager to start a family. will
When the five women confer, they agree that Soleá will use a ruse about her family secret to get him away to Granada to distract him from his task until Berta can come up with a better plan. 
The book starts six months after this has happened and Marlow has become concerned after not hearting from Atticus for six months. He has traveled to Spain to talk to Berta and the police to try to track him down. Berta denies all knowledge of Atticus' whereabouts, and Inspector Manchego, the policeman in charge of the case is a man who doesn't speak English well, and who doesn't have a lot of experience. He is a real character, but a good man at heart. Manchego uses some unusual methods to do his investigation, and mostly they don't work very well, but end up getting him in trouble. 
As he meets with Berta and continues his work, things become more interesting. We see what Atticus has been up to, and what happened to him when he first arrived in Spain. 
There are several romances and assignations here and some surprising revelations. I quite enjoyed this unusual book. 

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