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Crime mystery set in Barcelona, plus a restaurant recommendation!

22nd August 2016

The Whispering City by Sara Moliner, crime mystery set in Barcelona.

I recently visited Barcelona and took The Whispering City by Sara Moliner with me, set firmly in the city of 1952. Rather intriguingly I was staying in one of the streets mentioned in the book – the Rambla de Catalunya – and as I set off each day to explore, I would look up the patrician houses and apartments and imagine some of the characters from the book behind the windows and shutters.

crime mystery set in barcelona

Looking out over the Barcelona skyline

Marina Sobrerroca, a wealthy socialite and widow, has been found murdered in her house in Tibidabo and Inspector Castro is to lead the investigation. Ana Martí is a journalist fired with passion to take up where her father left off – he has been punished by the regime and now has work that is alien to his skills. She is due to work alongside him.

Ana of course is a bright spark who finds and peruses letters that indicate Marina has perhaps a younger admirer, or even lover, Octavian, whose letters are peppered with references to Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Surely there is a clue within the writing?

Spain of the 1950s, under the dictatorship of General Franco, has a low crime rate, according to the authorities and Castro has to solve this case before a Congress takes place in the following month. Clearly the case will be convoluted and keep both investigators guessing.

For me the wonderful elements of the book were the echoes of footsteps past, a reminder that this vibrant city today has had a dark and desperate history which it is all too easy to forget as one walks down the Rambla abuzz with people enjoying the ambience. The era of the book was so harsh for many, for intellectuals who didn’t tow the line, for ordinary citizens who had to resort to bartering stockings. It was a sobering and thought provoking book to read in the city.

The Whispering City is a work of translation and it was hard to determine whether the rather two dimensional and stolid prose was present in the original or had lost something in translation.

For a choice of books to transport you to Barcelona, simply click here!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

I also want to share with you a top restaurant recommendation, primarily because it has a wonderful book themed interior and the food is excellent and good value.

Flamant at Calle Enrique Granados, 23, in the Eixample (Contact)


This restaurant was buzzing by 21.00 on the Saturday we visited, some tourists but mainly locals. I had the tip from someone who lives nearby. The interior is dark wood and brilliant white table cloths and glittering lights, some decorously dimmed others bright and vibrant. The mix worked well for evening dining as the light outside darkened.

The choice caters for different tastes and diets and there is something for most palettes, with an innovative mix of flavours andIMG_4594 subtle twists. A top rating from me for ambience and food and if I had a small quibble, it was the first course arrived before I even had time to unfurl my napkin.

I would certainly go again.

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