I know Nik Morton more as a writer of westerns. His Bullets For a Ballot was reviewed here a while ago. Spanish Eye is something else.
Nik is one of those Brits who left the dark, rainy North for the sunny south coast of Spain, which is where this collection of 22 stories, featuring private investigator Leon Cazador, takes place.
Like Henning Mankell and other writers of euro crime fiction, Morton shares what he’s come to know about crime and the criminal element in Spain, though never painting it as dark as writers of the Scandi-noir school. Against a background of social conditions in modern-day Spain, it’s petty crime mostly, systemic graft, and fraud that find their way to Cazador’s attention. Meanwhile, the menace of organized crime and mafia elements lurks in the shadows.
|Cafe culture, Madrid; photo by Ron Scheer|
A recent resident (for part of a summer) of Madrid, who came to enjoy that city’s laid-back culture, I felt some pleasant déjà vu in the world of Morton’s stories which are peopled by the men and women I observed there on the leafy avenidas, in the busy neighborhood plazas, and among the fountains in the parks.
Coming up: Luke Allan, Blue Peter: “Half-Breed” (1920)