Sunday 29 October 2017

The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet - Manuel Alfonseca - The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 3

The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 3
Manuel Alfonseca


This past spring Manuel Alfonseca's books were recommended to me. Since then I have read four of his works and been impressed by them all. I have now read three books in the series The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition, and am greatly enjoying the series. Many years ago I encountered the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jose Saramago and I find that reading Alfonseca reminds me of their works. The big advantage with the works of Alfonseca is that for those I have read he has done the translations himself. So the chance of something having been lost in translation is far less likely. 

The first two mysteries focus more on both Vicki and Gonzalo. In the first book Quetzalcoatl's Zahir, the two meet and have a budding relationship over a mysterious letter found in a library book and what it hits at. The second book, The Mystery of the Haunted House, has Vicki as a main character but Gonzalo is close by and helping to solve the case. In that volume we are also introduced to Inspector Gutierrez. This third volume is very different in that Gonzalo does not play a part. This is really a new mystery focusing around an investigation by Inspector Gutierrez and Vicki playing the role of his assistant. For the book begins with Gonzalo leaving on a train for school work. And while at the station seeing him off Vicki runs into the Inspector. 

In many ways this story is the unravelling of a series of lies, half trusts and what appears to be a locked room mystery. The inspector states to Vicki: "I just got back from a routine job that got me out of Seville. They've called me back urgently to deal with another case. It doesn't seem very complicated, but as you are interested in these things... Do you want to come with me and witness my investigation? You could learn a lot. As your boyfriend is on a journey, and classes are over for this week..." But it is an understatement and the beginning of our adventure.

Like the other books in the series there are a number of references to literature, a few pop culture and some classical science fiction. The book was great fun to read and I could hardly put it down. It is odd seeing the interactions between a family, their servants, a family friend and the police. It begins when a bracelet appears missing and so is one of the family's maids. But soon it is discovered to be a murder and none of the stories are really lining up with the facts. It becomes quite the tangled web to unravel for the Inspector and Vicki to get to the truth. 

As mentioned this book is available in English and is translated by the author himself. And now all four books in the series are available in English. When I began reading the first book, it was the only one at the time available in English. I have loved the first three books in this series. And I have the fourth but have held off reading it until I could write the review for this one. My only wish at this point is that the series will be extended. They are such good clean fun mysteries to read! 

I stand by my statement that if you are a fan of Coelho, Marquez or Saramago you owe it to yourself to give this author a try! And if you are not fans of those three buy love a great adventure or mystery novel, give this series a go, they are great reads and I am sure you will not be disappointed! I must state clearly that I highly recommend this book, and the whole series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Jacob's Ladder
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field
The Lost Continent

The Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Series:

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future
The Fifth Level of Evolution

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