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A Not So Perfect Crime (The Borja and Eduard Barcelona Series) [Kindle Edition]

Teresa Solana , Peter Bush
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Book Description

A prominent politician's wife is suspected of infidelity. The case for our twin private investigators becomes nasty when she is found poisoned. A satire of Catalan politics and life and habits of Barcelona's inhabitants, diurnal and nocturnal.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Solana's sparkling debut pokes sharp fun at Catalan politics, society and pretensions. Despite different names and personalities, Eduard Martínez and Borja Masdéu are not only twins but partners in Frau Consultants, an extralegal outfit that provides discreet services to Barcelona's well-to-do. Lluís Font, a powerful MP with presidential ambitions, hires the brothers to determine if his wife, Lídia, is having an affair with the painter of her portrait. That assignment is right up their alley, but when Lídia is poisoned via a gift box of marrons glacés, the brothers are out of their depth. Borja, who's remade himself as a member of the upper class, is a confident and amusing operator, while brother Eduard is a family man with scruples and misgivings. From their false front of an office and the secretary who exists only as a lingering scent and a bottle of nail varnish, the brothers bumble and stumble to the truth and hopefully to further adventures. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Solana’s excellent debut novel, set in the streets and parlors of Barcelona, offers both probing social commentary and a riveting crime story. Twins Eduard and Borja (except no one knows they are brothers) run an off-the-books investigative agency, and they think they’ve have landed a big fish when a famous MP contacts them, suspecting his wife of infidelity. What seems like a run-of-the-mill crime in upper-class Barcelona becomes much more complicated when the lady in question is found dead of poison on Christmas Day. Despite the leisurely investigative style of the brothers, the story moves along quickly, carried by the expertly paced plot, the fascinating details of daily life in Barcelona, and the myriad fascinating characters, from Eduard’s alternative-lifestyle guru wife to Borja’s high-society “aunt.” Suggest this one to readers who have enjoyed Chris Ewan’s Good Thief series (Good Thief’s Guide to Paris, 2008). --Jessica Moyer

Product Details

  • File Size: 399 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; Tra edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QO9GB0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,325 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a team! March 6, 2009
How can I convey the quirky originality of this novel? Not by a synopsis of the plot, which is simple enough. No, it's the characters that engage our affectionate interest, all of them doing their best to make a living or uphold a position, despite various petty difficulties (logistic, economic and romantic).

The humble narrator is plump and self-effacing, in love with his wife - and anything but a go-getter. Yet, teamed up with his suave twin brother (who looks nothing like him and pretends not to be his twin, for mysterious reasons), our timid hero does his part to conduct an unexpectedly successful investigation into murder in high places.

These peculiar detectives are not really detectives, being totally without credentials or method. Good and bad luck pursue them as they pursue one unlikely suspect after another. We can hardly believe it when they unearth the truth.

Will Solana manage a sequel to this delightful book? I sincerely hope so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars satirical whodunit March 7, 2009
On first look, one would not consider them brothers; on meeting them one would notice how their personalities are total opposites; their differing surname support the assertion that the pair does not share the same DNA. However, Eduard Martinez and Borja "Pep" Masdeu are not just siblings, they are twins.

In Barcelona, the pair open up Frau (as in Tau as you get what you pay for especially the poor) Consultants providing special (some might insists illegal or least Borja has a tendency to cross the line) circumspect services to the rich and richer though they hide their common heritage even from Eduard's wife. MP Luis Font plans to run for president, but cannot afford personal scandal. He hires Frau Consultants to discreetly investigate his wife Lidia to insure she is not cheating on him with the portrait artist painting her. However, someone sends Lidia a gift of marrons glaces flavored with poison. When she dies the brothers investigate her murder fearing their client did it and might be setting them up for the fall.

The fun in this satirical whodunit is the fumbling twins who thrive on making mistakes while putting up a false bravado façade even when it comes to their office. The story line converges on the political-affluence connection, but is owned by the soft-boiled siblings as they hide their DNA link (never quite explained why) and their clueless skills while working on A NOT SO PERFECT CRIME.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brothers in Barcelona Crime March 2, 2009
Any crime writer seeking to use Barcelona as a setting must contend with the extremely long shadow cast by the godfather of Spanish crime, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, whose 16-book "Pepe Carvalho" series, which is also set there. Fortunately, Solana manages to make the city sing in the service of her odd couple detecting duo. Eduard and Borja are the middle-aged co-directors of a slightly shady firm of "fixers" consisting of themselves, a fictional secretary represented by an artfully draped shawl and timely spritzes of perfume, and a small entry room with a fancy faux door to their perpetually "under construction" main office.

Their off-the-books quasi detective agency runs on an artfully cultivated reputation for total discretion, which allows them to float into the upper reaches of society while not having to do anything actually illegal. In this debut, the two are asked by a prominent politician to investigate how his wife came to pose for a painting he knew nothing about (the subtext being a question about her marital fidelity). For a while, this allows Eduard and Borja to drive around Barcelona in a borrowed Smart car, trailing her to a succession of upscale shops, fancy cafes, and hairdressers. However, when she turns up poisoned, they suddenly realize that they've landed themselves in something rather more serious than they expected (or are really prepared to deal with).

Meanwhile, there's a nice domestic backdrop to all this, as we meet Eduard's wife and children, and Borja attempts to escape the romantic attentions of Eduard's sister-in-law. Eduard is the prototypical Watson, narrating the story in the wake of his more flamboyant and risk-taking partner, living a stable family life while Eduard lives in an apartment provided by his married girlfriend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Much of a Mystery September 27, 2009
Eduard and Borja are twin brothers with different last names. That's because Borja, a con man of sorts, reconstituted himself during the years when he disappeared from his brother's life. Now they work in Barcelona doing small discreet inquiries for the rich. Some of it involves following a wife or mistress to check on fidelity. Eduard knows that the boys have no investigative skills; but it's a living, though not a great one. Borja is the brains because he has the necessary style, confidence and chutzpah to carry off the role.

The boys are hired by an ambitious and prominent member of parliament who has discovered a portrait of his wife and convinced himself that she is having an affair with the artist. He is worried about career damage. For many pages the boys trail the wife around Barcelona, establishing only that she lives a normal upper class life style. There is no hint of an affair. The internet reveals that the painter is much older than the MP's wife and lives in Paris. Borja comes up with some imaginative ideas to extend the investigation (and the income flow). Then everything changes.

The wife turns up murdered, and the MP is a suspect. He keeps the boys on the payroll to investigate. They actually stumble over useful information. The deceased had lots of enemies, and people may have been lined up to kill her. Eventually, through no fault of their own, they conclude the case.

The book was written as a satire on Catalan life and politics and may work well on that level if you are familiar with the aforesaid life and politics. I am not, so it didn't work well for me on that level. As a mystery it is very slow. Nothing happens for the first 120 or so pages except glimpses of Barcelona life and the personal lives of the two heroes.
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