Cover image for The ambiguity of murder: an Inspector Alvarez mystery
The ambiguity of murder: an Inspector Alvarez mystery
Jeffries, Roderic, 1926-
Personal Author:
First St. Martin's Minotaur edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001.

Physical Description:
200 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Inspector Alvarez is on the case when the body of a retired Bolivian diplomat is found floating in a swimming pool. As he searches for evidence of foul play, Alvarez learns how many enemies the dead man had--causing Alvarez to begin to wonder if he will be the next victim.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

You'd think that, with his twenty-third appearance, Inspector Alvarez--the slow-moving, brandy-loving policeman from Mallorca--would begin to show some signs of wear and tear. But, no, the series remains just as appealing as ever, its ambience both comforting and unusual. There's the setting--the lovely island of Mallorca. There's the cast of characters--eccentric British expatriates and cantankerous natives. And, most of all, there is the delightful inspector, who continues to ponder the unreasonableness of his Madrid superior before wondering what mouth-watering dish his cousin, Dolores, is concocting for the next meal. This time an exceptionally clever plot adds to the appeal. When a retired Bolivian diplomat is found dead in his swimming pool, there are a number of likely suspects, not to mention a possible connection to South American drug dealing. Alvarez, as always, delivers his special brand of justice tempered with mercy. And therein lies another part of the series' enduring appeal--the inspector's inbred decency and humanity. We can offer only one suggestion: Why not include Dolores' recipes? --Stuart Miller

Publisher's Weekly Review

Murder will out, and does, in this latest addition (after 2000's An Enigmatic Disappearance) to the long-running and well-loved Inspector Alvarez series. Set as usual on Jeffries's home island of Mallorca, it features fair-play detection and (more importantly) keen observation of the human species. When the body of a retired Bolivian diplomat is found floating facedown in his swimming pool, Alvarez suspects the death was no accident. When he begins receiving calls threatening his life if he doesn't drop the case, he knows he's on the right trail. Then the unexpected occurs, proving family bonds are stronger than bureaucratic torpor. The simpatico Alvarez bases his conclusions not on fantastic deductions or painstaking forensic evidence but on patient and profound insight into the human soul. Like Maigret, he savors a case, displaying tolerant bemusement at human foibles. ("Why did modern youth enjoy hairstyles which made them look as if they were suffering from alopecia?") In addition, there are nice touches of local color throughout. ("The bay backed by mountains and marshland, the cerulean sea, and the curving beaches of sand, pebbles, or rock, were still beautiful despite the marina, flats, restaurants and stores selling kitschy goods and the holiday camp which looked as if it had been designed by a French bureaucrat.") In sum, the style is pleasing, the detection inspired and the novel, as a whole, sometimes tragic but never dispiriting. (May 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved