Saturday, August 14, 2010

BLOOD RED by Quintin Jardine (2009)

Primavera Blackstone is an attractive widow in her early forties who has abandoned Scotland for the bucolic Catalan coast of Spain where she is raising her 8-year-old son Tom in a village called St. Marti d'Empuries. There, Primavera and Tom have carved out a pleasant life with other UK expats and locals, including Fr. Gerard, the village priest and next-door neighbour.

Having been married to a famous movie star, Primavera is happy to have found a quieter, gentler place to single-parent her only child, himself a gregarious and sweetnatured boy who is happy to please just about any adult who asks.

When a local town councillor dies suddenly, fingers are pointed at Primavera, who had had a public disagreement with the misanthrop in the days before his death. In fact, she'd even agreed to his demand for extortion (because she could well afford it and because she knew such an agreement would knock him off balance) in order to help her friend Ben with his plans for a wine fair in the public square. Then, the mayor's mother is found bound and strangled in Primavera's garage. It's clear that somebody is trying to frame her, but who? And why?

Fr. Gerard insists that Primavera disappear while the police continue to bungle their investigation and he arranges for her to stay at his home in Granada, where his equally handsome pilot brother agrees to watch over her to keep her safe.

However, Primavera isn't content to sit still for long and reaches out to a long-time friend for support, a security specialist who has more than one trick up his sleeve. When circumstances surrounding a cold case present themselves, Primavera realizes that more than her own life is at stake.

In a fast-paced narrative with both likable and loathesome characters, Jardine has penned yet another engaging novel for his fans who happily "queue around the block to buy his latest book."

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