Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday was designed as an opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. As I started reviewing on Goodreads long before I started my blog, it seemed a great way of sharing my earlier reviews (which I hope have improved since the early days).
So this week I’m revisiting The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez – first reviewed in March 2015.
Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey and a favourite book. So when he is sent to shut down a failing literary magazine in Madrid, he packs both. A short Spanish jaunt later, he’ll be back in Kent, cup of tea and smoked-salmon sandwich in hand.
But the five ladies who run the magazine have other ideas. They’ll do anything to keep the jobs they love and their cosy office together. Even if it involves hoodwinking Atticus with flashing eyes, the ghosts of literature past and a winding journey into the heart of Andalucía.
With not the most efficient of detectives in hot pursuit, it’s only a matter of time before Atticus Craftsman either falls in love, disappears completely or – worst of all – runs out of Earl Grey.
Crime comedy, love story and literary adventure all at once, The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman is fiendishly fun and delightfully different.
“Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey and his five favourite books – so he makes sure he has packed both after his father, distinguished publisher of Craftsman & Co., sends him to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine, Librarte …But there to block him at every turn are the five fiery and close knit Spanish women who run Librarte, and who’ll do anything to keep their jobs “
What they resolve to do is send Atticus on a wild goose chase while they attempt to improve the finances. In the meantime, his father appears in Madrid having heard nothing from his son in 3 months and instigating a police investigation into his disappearance.
This is a delight of a book. Quirky and fun, playing on the stereotypes of being Spanish and British to great effect. The ladies are a delight, they have a strong bond of friendship and a personal back story that brings them to life as characters. They all play to their strengths in trying to keep Librarte afloat as the magazine is close to their hearts and more than just a job. Inspector Manchego is a likeable if bumbling officer who is more often found drinking and playing cards than catching criminals. Atticus is a delight and unlike his father can see what the magazine means to Berta, Gabriela, Asuncion, Maria and Solea. Although the fact that he is bewitched by Solea may also help to make him more sympathetic. It certainly makes him follow her to Granada, without hesitation or question, to discover a family secret.
The search to find Atticus in Andalucia is at times farcical but also great fun. Once they do find him, they are surprised to see he has gone native – grown his hair, learnt to play the guitar and ingratiated himself into the heart of Solea’s family. The surprise is, that the secret he ultimately uncovers is far greater than that he believed he was following.
This book has it all fun, friendship and of course love. As we are also dealing with a quintessential mystery focused on Andalucia we also have Lorca and Hemingway thrown in for good measure.
If you want a quirky entertaining fun read then this is a great read. Though as a Hispanophile I am possibly biased.