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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

A Not So Perfect Crime

Teresa Solana

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To purchase A Not So Perfect Crime

Title: A Not So Perfect Crime
Author: Teresa Solana
Genre: Novel
Written: 2006 (Eng. 2008)
Length: 286 pages
Original in: Catalan
Availability: A Not So Perfect Crime - US
A Not So Perfect Crime - UK
A Not So Perfect Crime - Canada
A Not So Perfect Crime - India
Des jumeaux presque parfaits - France
Mord auf katalanisch - Deutschland
Delitto imperfetto - Italia
Un crim imperfecte - España
Un crimen imperfecto - España
  • Catalan title: Un crim imperfecte
  • Translated by Peter Bush

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Our Assessment:

B : playful enough, though tries a bit too hard

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
NZZ . 17/7/2007 Kersten Knipp
Sunday Times . 14/12/2008 Joan Smith
The Telegraph . 22/9/2008 Susanna Yager

  From the Reviews:
  • "Trocken, ironisch, nüchtern kommt er daher, dazu durchaus mit Humor. Eine mehr unterhaltsame als wirklich spannende Grossstadtgeschichte" - Kersten Knipp, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • "Clever, funny and utterly unpretentious." - Joan Smith, Sunday Times

  • "(I)ntriguing and unexpected. (...) Solana's stylish and witty debut makes entertaining reading, and her two characters, the suave, quick-thinking Borja and anxious, law-abiding Eduard, make a good contrast as they weave their way through an increasingly murky mystery." - Susanna Yager, The Telegraph

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       A Not So Perfect Crime introduces an appealing investigating duo, the twin brothers Eduard and Borja. The gag is that no one knows they are brothers , and while Eduard, who narrates the book, has remained fairly true to himself, Borja has completely reinvented himself, moving comfortably in high society circles even as he is a complete (but very charming) fraud.
       The brothers have formed a sort of consultancy -- Frau Consultants, Ltd. (the name they chose was 'Tau', but the printer messed up ...) -- where they discreetly handle matters for well-heeled clients. And the two brothers each have their distinct roles. As Eduard explains:

In terms of hierarchy, he's the company director and I'm his deputy. In practice, to make it crystal-clear, he provides the clients, class and personal charm, and I perform the bloodhound routines.
       It's mostly just an act, from the fact that the company isn't even registered to the offices they use, complete with secretary who conveniently is always elsewhere. Still, they attract some clients -- and they seem to have landed a big fish when MP Lluís Font engages them. He's found a painting for which his wife apparently posed, and he's worried that she is having an affair with the painter.
       The brothers soon find themselves in rather over their heads when the wife turns up murdered, the MP turns out to be having his own affair, and they switch the controversial painting with one Eduard's mother-in-law painted. Eduard's family life suffers some from the demands the case places on him -- though it is Borja's flings that are more problematic -- and Solana makes a good deal out of the two very different brothers and the clash of personalities, especially as Borja's style digs them in deeper -- and also helps dig them out.
       Solana is presenting a class-portrait here, as there's a divide in Barcelona (and Spanish) society that is felt at nearly every turn. It all moves at a very leisurely pace -- tailing the wife means following her every boring move, and Solana does not spare the reader -- but with enough odd variety -- a side-trip to Paris, where the mystery of the painting is cleared up, the sudden appearance of the MP's lover -- to keep things interesting.
       A Not So Perfect Crime also has a fairly agreeable resolution, with most of the answers (including whodunnit) but also a certain untidiness that fits with Borja's general attitude. Still, it does all feel a bit forced, Solana inspired by a good premise -- the mismatched brothers that no one knows are related and their business, with little to sell except discretion (professional PIs they ain't) -- and a decent idea for a murder-plot which she then had to write a novel around. There's too much padding, and while the class dimension is entertaining (and central), she works it very hard.
       Still, it feels like the promising beginning of a series, the basic set-up ripe with potential and stuck-up Barcelona society ripe for the picking.

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A Not So Perfect Crime: Reviews: Other books by Teresa Solana under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Catalan author Teresa Solana was born in 1962.

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