This is a delightful novel by Carmen Posadas, a Uruguayan writer who now lives in Madrid. This is the second of her novels I have come across. The first was Little Indiscretions, another delightful novel, which I listened to in audiobook form in its English translation. Cinco Moscas Azules is an earlier novel and this time I read it in its original version in Spanish.
Though the book sometimes appears listed as a crime novel, it is does not really fit into that genre. Despite the fact that a murder is committed and two others meet untimely deaths. At least one of which is perhaps a murder. Or at any rate suspicious. Though there are lots of mysteries and mysterious happenings in the tale, it is not in any real sense a murder mystery. Rather it is the characters who provide the mystery.
For this is the real strength and fascination of the novel. Carmel Posadas takes us into the innermost minds of some of the oddest characters to be found. But all no doubt real to the elegant high society of Madrid of the early 1990s. The descriptions of this class is brought to life by two outsiders. The main one is an elderly gentleman of reduced means – Rafael Molinet. He has decided to end his life after spending his last two weeks in an exclusive and out of the way luxury hotel in Morroco, the Last Resort of the English language translation.
Before he leaves he is introduced by his niece to some delicious gossip about the possibly mysterious death of a member of this high society. And who should he meet on arriving at this luxury hotel but the widow of the recently deceased. Shortly after two couples arrive from Madrid. Neither though with their legally betrothed partner. All this provides Rafael with some welcome excuse to indulge in a bit of sleuth like snooping and eavesdropping while he awaits the end of his stay. With the help of some background research from his niece, Rafael finds out all he needs to know about the lives of his fellow guests. At least so he claims.
The other narrator is not really an outsider, but is temporarily one as she recovers from the allegedly tragic loss of her husband. Both narrators play with us the readers as they take us into their confidences. But how real are the various stories that emerge? Rafael in particular has his own long kept secrets which may or may not affect how he sees the actions of his fellow guests.
In sum this is an enchanting and witty novel which exposes in a light hearted way the unflattering and pretentious side of high society and those who would love to become part of the in crowd.