Paperback review: A Death in Valencia, By Jason Webster

 

In case there is any doubt that paella is the signature dish of Valencia, Jason Webster takes care to mention it an almost laughable number of times in the first 50 pages of this otherwise often superior crime novel – which takes in town council corruption, the issue of abortion, and the hypocrisy of religious believers, ready to cover up when a visit from the Pope is due.

His detective, Max Camara, may be just what we would expect of the genre, as a loner, unsuccessful in his relations with women, misunderstood by his bosses, and so on. The language is hardly subversive (people “throw looks” at one another) and the outcome is rather predictable, but there is a level of sophistication in the writing that takes us above the workmanlike.

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