Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez

iconiconI chose Martínez's The Book of Murder mainly because it was a nice thin book. My husband, his friend and I were traveling in Europe; we'd gone on a day trip to Edinbrough, and I discovered I was short on battery power for my handheld laptop. Since we had a three hour return trip by train, I decided to buy a book in the Edinbrough train station, but I wanted one that was slim and would fit easily in my messenger bag.

The Book of Murder was the only book I saw that answered my criteria, but it turned out to also be a very good read. I read the vast majority of it on the train, finishing it in the hotel room upon our return — but even under different circumstances, I think I would have been motivated to read it quickly, because I wanted so badly to know what happened.

I often find books written about or from the point of view of writers to be quite interesting, and this was even more so because of the suspenseful premise. The writer — presumably the author, since we are never given another name for him — receives a phone call from a typist who briefly worked for him ten years earlier, and who is sure that a competitor of his is killing off her family one by one out of revenge for a decade-old tragedy that he blamed on her.

The answer to the mystery is a bit fantastical, but believeably written. The novel is also fast paced and written in an interesting format, where the bulk of the story is told to the narrator in conversation with the protagonist, first, and the antagonist, second.

I noticed only after finishing the book that it is by an Argentinean author, translated into English. For such a book to be not only translated in the first place, but also to make it onto the bestseller shelf in this store, you know I am not the only one who was impressed!

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