STARRED REVIEW
November 16, 2015

Murder unveils conspiracy of Franco’s elite

By Sara Moliner
Review by

In 1952, Barcelona trembles beneath the oppressive, tyrannical regime of Franco’s fascist party. Ana Marti, a young journalist sick of detailing debutantes’ fashions and high-society scandals, gets her big break when socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is brutally murdered in the exclusive upper part of the city. Ana’s shocked to be assigned such an important case, but she holds her ground while working with Barcelona’s finest detective, Isidro Castro, despite his misogynistic grumblings about working with a woman.

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In 1952, Barcelona trembles beneath the oppressive, tyrannical regime of Franco’s fascist party. Ana Marti, a young journalist sick of detailing debutantes’ fashions and high-society scandals, gets her big break when socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is brutally murdered in the exclusive upper part of the city. Ana’s shocked to be assigned such an important case, but she holds her ground while working with Barcelona’s finest detective, Isidro Castro, despite his misogynistic grumblings about working with a woman.

The police announce that the murder was nothing more than an intruder and an incident of unfortunate timing. Ana concedes her curiosity—until she uncovers a bundle of love letters that insinuate a much different story. To meld the pieces of the real account together, Ana enlists the help of her languages-savvy cousin, Beatriz. Ana and Beatriz must tread lightly, as their family is already ill favored for their sympathy for the Republic, and Beatriz has even been ostracized for her writings. As they disentangle truth from lies to nullify the original statement, the two women expose political hypocrisy that will ultimately threaten their lives.

Rosa Ribas and Sabine Hoffman are the writing team behind the pseudonym Sara Moliner. Drawing from Ribas’ experiences of growing up in Francoist Spain and Hoffman’s education in philology, the two authors create a powerful voice that thunders with cultural wit and historical fact. Setting the scene takes a while, but the reader’s patience is rewarded as the historical-political plot sears with sensational revelations implicating the dictatorship’s influential leaders. This is Ribas and Hoffman’s first time working together and surely not to be their last, as The Whispering City is already highly acclaimed in Spain and has been translated into several languages.

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The Whispering City

The Whispering City

By Sara Moliner
Pegasus
ISBN 9781605988955

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