Saturday, 2 August 2014

Book Review: Barcelona Shadows

Here we are, another rainy day, what does a woman do; housecleaning, blogging, reading?

Yes, faithful readers, the latter. I was sent this gruesome book, and tried to wade my way through it. I know there is a market for it, but I had a hard time reading it. This book has been translated into English, the other three are not. It wasn't a language barrier, but I simply couldn't handle the story line. I'm not a tender violet, but I don't like blood, guts, and gore, especially when children are involved. The author,  Marc Pastor , who used his professional
Little is known of Enriqueta MartĂ­ i RipollĂ©s
before she arrived in Barcelona
in the early years of the 19th Century 1868 - 1913
experiences as a crime scene investigator to bring the activities of this real-life woman, Enriqueta Martí i Ripollés , to life in this book, hasn't just written her story. He has crafted a gruesome tale and gets into her weird mind, which I found hard to follow. It might have helped if I had researched the story somewhat. I usually do not. Especially, I don't read book reviews prior to my reviews.

The last two victim
I found that while he did a fabulous job if getting into the deranged mind of this grisly person, it was too difficult to read. Yes, those who love this genre will be suitably thrilled! He writes from her point of view. It took me a couple of chapters to determine the killer was a 'she', and then, when I figured out it he was getting into her mind, and while she was thinking certain thoughts, it was tricky to sort that out from the actual dialogue. He is a good writer, no question. And why write a book that simply documents this horrid woman? His treatment is excellent. I just couldn't get through it!

Marc Pastor
He participated in this BBC interview, where he discusses the beginnings of twentieth-century Barcelona, the world that Enriqueta MartĂ­ i RipollĂ©s  terrorized, while displaying authentic, old photographs of Enriqueta and her victims. Pastor explains that as he was writing this book, he struggled to get into the mind of his terrible, Hannibal Lecter-esque subject, but when, in his day job, he had to investigate a case of a modern-day female serial killer, he encountered the kind of cold, prideful person that would help him to bring Enriqueta alive on the page. 

What an alarming coincidence! 


 From the publisher:
Marc Pastor's research: old newspapers

Enriqueta was leading a double life. During the day she dressed in rags and begged at houses of charity, convents and parishes in the destitute parts of town where she selected children who looked the most abandoned. Taking the children by the hand, she made them pass as her children. Later, she prostituted or murdered them. She did not have any need to beg, since her double work as a procurer and prostitute gave her sufficient money to live well. By night she dressed in luxurious clothes, hats and wigs, and attended the El Liceu, the Casino de la Arrabassada and other places where the wealthy of Barcelona gathered. It is probable that in these places she offered her services as procurer of children.


Nancy J said...

Too sad and ugly, a brave man to write this story so well. Cheers,Jean

William Kendall said...

I expect I'd have problems getting through this book. Good review, though!

Red said...

Okay, this is one book I won't read. I don't do well with blood and guts.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Not even on my radar... there is too much going in actual life without having to add to it. Eileen said 'brave to write'... I say you were brave to get far enough to tell us about it! YAM xx

Unknown said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. I tried to take the reader to a nightmare trip, and maybe it wasn't the story you expected.
Anyway, thanks for the review!

Unknown said...

I'm sorry you didn't like it. I tried to take the reader to a nightmare trip, and maybe it wasn't the kind of story you expected.
Anyway, thanks for the review!