Xavier Moret, Formentera blues, 2019, 304 p.
Max Riera, known by his old friends of the plaça Reial [Barcelona] as the “alternative detective”, is commissioned with an investigation in Formentera. A new-rich is having a house restored, and the construction workers have found a woman’s bones buried in the courtyard. Together with Roc Duran, a journalist who lost his job recently, Max returns to the island where as a young man he lived, had fun and dreamed of a different world. After interviewing all kinds of characters (a farmer from Ibiza, a snobbish painter, a German who dealt with drugs, …), Max will be able to reconstruct the story of the young hippy woman who 40 years earlier had a bad end in the Formentera of the early 1970s. Nothing’s perfect, not even on the island where Pau Riba, Jimi Hendrix and Max Riera were young.
some excerpts from an article by Magí Camps:
This is the fifth case Max Riera series, written by Xavier Moret (Barcelona, 1952). “Nostalgia of his generation, humor and the diversity of Formentera are some of the ingredients that make up this crime novel,” according to the author.
Moret takes the opportunity to charge against the current journalism that dispenses with good professionals for economic reasons. The novel is full of social criticism, both of Barcelona and of Formentera: “The crime novel, apart from the intrigue, has to include a critique of the social environment…”
Tourism is presented as one of the big culprits, but Moret, who has written a number of travel books, specifies: “Rather mass tourism. I am in favour of tourism, that the people travel wherever they want, but mass tourism makes the cities change to offer the tourists the image that they expect; and that makes them giving up their personality and offering a cheap copy of it.”
This blogger thinks that the title is quite appropiate for the summer season, and he likes the inclusion of social criticism, following the example of the classic Swedish crime novels, starting with Sjöwall and Wahlöö, followed by Mankell and Stieg Larrsson.
You can find out more about tourism in Formentera (Balearic Islands) on their official website. And more about mass tourism to the Iberian peninsula in these blog posts from July 2017, September 2017, October 2017, 2018 and 2019.
SOURCE: Empúries (Grup62, Planeta; publisher); La Vanguardia, 2 July 2019