Robert. A Small Death in Lisbon. Harcourt. Oct. 2000. c448p.
ISBN 0-15-100609-1. $25.00. Fiction.
Klaus Felsen, a Berlin businessman forced into the SS against
his will in 1941, has been assigned to Portugal. From there,
he ships the Germans wolfram—a
mineral desperately needed by Hitler’s war machine—and, near the
end of the war, smuggles Nazi gold in the other direction, ultimately betraying
the men who control him. Over 50 years later, Inspector Ze Coelho works to solve
the murder of a young girl near Lisbon and in doing so unravels a tangled skein
that ties the corruption of the past to the tragedy of the present. Wilson’s
fifth novel, winner of England’s Golden Dagger for Best Crime Novel, richly
deserves both the acclaim it has garnered overseas and a wide audience in this
country. Using story lines that converge in time, Wilson skillfully weaves an
engrossing and complex tale, characterized by an atmospheric evocation of past
and present Portugal, fascinating characters of great psychological depth, a
brilliant plot that grips the reader to the last word, and an immensely satisfying
mastery of craft and language. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.