Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Barcelona Journal Murders by Jonathan Coan Daifuku

Opening Paragraph: "It's after midnight, so it must be Thursday. It's my fault, he must be dead. How could I have been so gullible? I'll never forgive myself. How could it have happened? My head's throbbing, too many things screaming for attention, I can't think, like the time I got lost in a thick fog in Sitges. I was seven and close to home but I got lost, an ominous silence enveloped me, the world stood still as if waiting for me to make my decis8ion, turn right, turn left? I don't know, I can't even see what's up or down. I panicked at the time, I couldn't move, but this is much worse. No silence; a voice I can't hush - his - and a pit of anguish at the bottom of my stomach. My body aches so. I spent the better part of last night walking on the Garraf heights, the moon was full, the air clear, so unlike Barcelona; at least you could see where to put your foot." 

Synopsis:

Barcelona, 1906. 

A tale of crime and mystery. Of love found, love lost and found again. Professor C… teaches a photography course at an upper-class all-women’s school. A serial killer has the city terrified; elaborately tied prostitutes are turning up in the historical medieval sector, strangled on dates ending in 4. Hired to photograph the victims, the Professor unwilling finds himself drawn into a treacherous, riddle-filled plot. Will the camera prove mightier than the sword? Are the two witty, strong-willed women in his life part of the problem or part of the solution? As C… begins to make sense of the serial killer puzzle things turn terribly personal: he and his wealthy love and student are blackmailed for what happened between them in the school’s darkroom. If they put their heads together could they find a way out of their predicament? Richly detailed and exhaustively researched, this work is written for those who enjoy who-done-it historical novels with a pinch of erotic romance. .. Or who plan to visit the old section of Barcelona … Or those interested in heroic days of early photography... The reader will be in close touch with a place: a bustling Mediterranean port-city; and a period: that of our forefathers before our modern era (pre-World War I). A time just four generations ago; a time where the mores and technical achievements are relevant yet so curiously different to ours. For over two decades Jonathan Coan Daifuku has worked in Barcelona as an architect, designer and creative advertisement agency director. He is a Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University graduate and currently a university professor. For more information follow the Author on Facebook.

Review by Mirella Patzer
Also visit History and Women for biographical book reviews and bios of notorious women 

The Barcelona Journal Murders is both a love story and a murder mystery. Set in 1906k the protaganist is photographer who teaches a class to young women. He begins to receive anonymous messages as he is drawn in to photographing the bodies of strangled prostitutes by a serial killer. 
It is evident the author is comfortably familiar with not only the setting, but the history of photography. A lot of historical details are interwoven into the story. I especially enjoyed the toilet snippets taken from newspapers convieniently ripped into to squares for use as bathroom tissue. At a whopping 693 pages, be prepared for a long, but satisfying read. The book is divided into short chapters and scenes, which makes it easy to read. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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