Despite the news of the day [and the news is in the post below], I did promise an evening of detection and escape. Escape is a lovely thing, and absolute escape never corrupts, at least if it is...temporary.
Novels of detection conjur finite worlds and beg us to enter through positing a question, a riddle, a dilemma to be solved. Perfect, always.
I tend to prefer the classic English "country house" genre written by very smart women or anything by Collins or Doyle. I am so very easy.
Dorothy Sayers is beyond perfection. Deconstructing Dante by day, concocting Lord Peter Wimsey by night, sigh...such a Lord and such a lady.
Not to neglect Margery Allingham or, god knows, Mary Roberts Rinehart -she of the florid, 30's book jackets and pencil-sketched floor plans [if I were Empress, every book ever written would have a floor plan and a List of Characters].
There is much about the most dear Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's [who, as we know, is still with us] books which I find a tad off-putting. Most particularly his obligatory [one per novel] sex scenes. They are all the same and profoundly unconvincing. But he walks the streets I know and love, and he is passionate about his food and his loyalty. I should like to run into him someday in La Boquería, where we could exchange recipes and gossip.
In a perfect world, or parlour, I might be knitting whilst being read to [it would have to be Sherlock Holmes, and the accent would have to be public school]. The very best free patterns for very femme sweaters can be found here. I thank them constantly.
In an imperfect world, one might be stiching up corsets while watching Mystery Theatre or fashioning masks while listening to Puccini or Coolio. I adore Coolio, who [as Bono once said about himself] has not a cool bone in his body.
But if one wished to be literal, daring and less demure, there are very real places...unknown, unexplored, untrod.
And, if its 2 AM, I can recommend a certain similar haunt not that far from La Boquería. Everyone requires a place like this. Where you must ring a buzzer on an unmarked door, be led up a set of winding, ill-lit stairs and be allowed to drink with the owner until he tires of you. Most especially if it's in the Plaza Real and next to your favorite cafe and most-loved club. But, if you venture there prior to 2 in the morning, you must be a "member", pay a cover charge and swear allegiance to all the Holmesian paraphernalia. The Pipa Club. The owner can be a bit of an ass, but the jazz groups often stay late and the drinks are eminently cheap.
Tomorrow we can contemplate the internal consulta and, perhaps, why I despise labyrinths.