Does for the 21st century ... would be more accurate. Detective Pepe Carvalho has returned to Barcelona after the events in the previous Carvalho novel, The Buenos Aires Quintet, and he does indeed offer pungent commentary on what his city has become:
"Barcelona ... was not the anarchists' fiery rose, because the bourgeoisie had won its final victory by the simple trick of changing its name; it called itself the `emerging sector' now, and how on earth could anyone throw a bomb or build a barricade against an `emerging sector'?"He notes bathers and cyclists "equally keen on the sea and getting something for nothing," a mordant observation on our prostration before the God of the Free Market. And, he tells his first prospective client, things are tough for gumshoes, too:
"Globalisation has hit us hard. The multinationals control all private security business, and one-off detectives like me are seen as anthropological curiosities. There's never been so much Theology of Security around, nor so many crooks and murderers in the market, but we can't compete with the multinationals of oppression. What NATO is doing beggars belief. For now, they're just using intelligent missiles, but soon they'll be arresting and imprisoning people with magnets that can detect defeated human flesh from hundreds of miles away.""Does for Barcelona what Chandler did for Los Angeles" falls short of Vázquez Montalbán's compass, I'd say.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009