The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman, by Mamen Sanchez (2013, 2016)

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus CraftsmanWhen Atticus Finchman is sent to Spain to close a literary magazine, he brings Earl Grey tea, an electric kettle and a proper British teacup. Tea, Atticus has learned, can solve nearly every problem, or at least give you the strength to deal with it. But tea is no match for the five fiery Spanish women whose livelihood is threatened, and they soon devise a scheme to distract the young Englishman from his assignment. But when no one hears from Atticus for three months, his father Marlow travels to Madrid to alert the police, and Inspector Manchego gets the case. Language barriers mis-steps, literary references, and a delightful cast of characters provide a promising start for this romantic mystery that includes an appearance by Ernest Hemingway. I quite enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book, but the drawn-out conclusion collapsed into a strange mix of cliches, damsels needing rescuing from villains, a horrid mother-in-law and oddly detailed sex scenes. First published in Spanish and translated by Lucy Greaves, perhaps there is a cultural literary barrier that even a skilled translator couldn’t overcome. If you are looking for a predictable beach read and don’t mind a slide from a madcap caper to a solid romance in the tradition of film’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, give it a try. Just be warned. My thanks to publisher Atria Books for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley.
More discussion and reviews of this novel:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s