“A Death in Valencia” (Minotaur Books, $24.99), a mystery by Jason Webster, is the second book in his series featuring Chief Inspector Max Camara, who loves the flamenco, brandy and an occasional marijuana high.
Max is depressed. There are cracks in the walls of his apartment. The body of a well-known paella chef has washed up on the beach. The pope is coming to visit Valencia, and there are fights and threats about abortion clinics. Town hall officials are demolishing El Cabanyal, the colorful, historic fishing quarter on Valencia's sea front.
Add a prominent abortion doctor's kidnapping to the mix, and Max has a lot to think about. When his apartment collapses, due to the demolition occurring in his neighborhood, he begins to feel as though the powers that be have no concern for the common man.
As Max attempts to find the murderer, he reunites with his old girlfriend, Alicia. She works for a left-wing newspaper determined to expose the corruption of the political system, where judges from Franco's fascist regime are still on the bench and the media are manipulated by the Spanish government.
In addition to a good mystery, the author gives a look at the politics of Spain as well as the colorful background of the area.
— Betty Lytle