The Blind Man of Seville is refreshingly elaborate for a detective story; the pathways of discovery revolve not just around crime solving, but also a deep and personal psychological exploration of the protagonist and his historical father.
Such are the characters of the murdered victim that Falcon encounters and as we learn later, his father. I recognise some of these male characteristics in men of a certain generation, which covers to some extent the time period which Wilson writes in and beyond.
I got the sense that Wilson combined his sentiments about Seville with some some intriguing Spanish Civil War-era history and then wrapped up the works in a flimsy, artificial mystery plot that adds little to the story other than dead bodies and forced philosophical asides.
It is like a Scandinavian crime novel set in Seville but with even more emphasis on the psychological state of the detective.
A crime novel set in Spain. Unlike some crime novels set in non-English-speaking countries, this one was not written in Spanish and then translated, but appears to have been written in English from the start, though it has quite a lot of Spanish words and phrases in it. One of the historical characters writes in his diary, in 1952 It is an irony not lost on me that here we are in Tangier, captives of the International Zone of Morocco, in the cockpit of Africa, where a new kind of society is being created. The untaxed unruled business affairs of the International Zone are played out in its society's shunning of any form of morality.
There was definitely a sense of place in this book though, the author mixed in enough Spanish words (mostly swear words) that I had to search the web for translations but not so much that I didn't know what was going on. I will likely give Wilson another try but if the next book is overly long and suffers from the same meandering plot as Blind Man, I'll probably not stick with it too long.
As he uncovers the twisted past of his famous-artist father, he slowly experiences a series of epiphanies that leave him emotionally brittle yet compelled to discover the relationship between his own past and the killer at large.
However, the crimes at its focus aren't those described on the wrapper -- a series of brutal murders in modern-day Seville -- but those depicted in what seems initially to be the novel's backstory. Again, although The Blind Man of Seville seems at the outset like a mystery/detective novel, taking the form of a police procedural, that isn't really what it's up to; in fact, the final resolution of the "mystery" strand of the tale, the revelation of the murderer's identity, seems almost perfunctory in plotting terms (although not in the actual telling). But now, on discovering that the murdered man and his widow, Consuelo Jiménez, were acquainted with his father, Falcón begins to read the extensive personal journals that Francisco left behind in a box in the studio. Slowly we and Falcón discover through the reading of the journals that Francisco, who seemed no worse than a sort of diamond in the rough, was in fact a monster, a man who killed readily not just during the Spanish Civil War and the Russian campaign of World War II but also afterwards, in peacetime. p177 The sound of sizzling nylon reached him as she sawed her legs together. The cops' #1 suspect for the first murder -- even though Falcón himself is convinced she's not guilty -- is the dead man's widow, Consuelo Jiménez. I was definitely gripped by the book's later stages, once the author had (it seemed to me) decided where he was going with all this, that what he wanted to create was a novel about dark revelation, about the impact of past events and the actions of the dead-and-gone upon the minds of people still living, rather than an investigation of murder.
He has written four psychological crime novels set in Seville, with his Spanish detective, Javier Falcón.