When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking
Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.
When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.
Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising… Be careful not to drown.
The stunning new instalment of the gripping Elisenda Domènech crime thrillers for readers of Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri.
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N7Y2NDN
Ten random things about the City of series
1. The series is set in the Catalan city of Girona, which is about 60 miles northeast of Barcelona. Sometimes called the ‘city of a thousand sieges’, it’s been fought over every century since it was founded by the Romans. The narrow and cobbled Carrer Força, in the old town, was originally the Via Augusta, which went all the way to Rome.
2. One of the inspirations for the series was that policing in Catalonia was being devolved to a Catalan police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra. It was a body that had been in existence in one form or another for three centuries, but this was the first time it was to be a national police force for Catalonia. I was fascinated by the idea of a brand new police service and all the teething problems it would have.
3. All the institutions in the series exist, with the exception of the Serious Crime Unit, which I created so the characters could travel all over the Girona region. I’m hoping the real-life police copy my idea. Its leader is Elisenda Domènech, one of the first women to join the Catalan police.
4. There was never much of a tradition of police procedurals in Spanish literature because the old style of police weren’t seen in that light – they were there to observe and punish, not to protect and detect. When the Catalans took over their own policing, they wanted to change radically, so they recruited women and graduates and adopted some northern European structures. That’s partly why the protagonist of the series is a woman police officer.
5. When I was researching for the City of Good Death, the Catalan police were very helpful, but as a member of the public I wasn’t allowed into the detectives’ offices in Girona police station. Instead, a policeman was inside the room and I was outside in the street as he described it to me over the phone while I asked him ever more detailed questions about what he could see.
6. Until the Mossos became the police force in the 1990s/2000s, police in Catalonia weren’t Catalans as the old policy was to bring in officers from other parts of Spain in case they were called on to put down popular insurrection. This makes having police who are local and who speak Catalan more significant.
7. I used to teach English to the archaeologists in the city’s archaeology service and they’d show me around the digs they were working on and explain a lot of the history of the city to me. That was the seed of the idea that became City of Buried Ghosts.
8. Half of Girona’s medieval city walls are still standing. The old town is on the east of the Ter River and still retains its part of the old defences. The nineteenth-century part of the town is on the west side, and the city council decided to pull the walls down in the 1930s to modernise. It’s got to be a decision that every council has regretted ever since. Today’s semi-circular Gran Via boulevard follows their course.
9. The idea for City of Drowned Souls came to me in an instant when I made eye contact with a street performer in Girona. Dressed as an early nineteenth-century dandy, he bowed down low and doffed his hat at me, and I immediately had the whole story and most of the characters in my head. He became the leader of the group of storytellers in the book.
10. I know the exact flat or house in Girona where every character in the books lives. Knowing that, and how they get to and from work and where they buy their bread on a Sunday morning helps me get their character. When I learned that Elisenda’s flat in real life had been refurbished, I used that in City of Drowned Souls as part of her story.
Lastly, thank you Carly for hosting me on Fiction Fascination today.
-Anytime! Really enjoyed reading your post!
About the Author
Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it. Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting. He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.
He writes the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona. The third book in the series, City of Drowned Souls, is published on 6 February 2017.