A Dead Man in Barcelona by Michael Pearce. I am a huge fan of Pearce’s work overall, but one of the criticisms that frequently gets mentioned about his books, that they are formulaic and somewhat repetitive, certainly holds true in the fifth Sandor Seymour adventure. Formulaic adventures are not necessarily a bad thing if they are also entertaining, but in this case, the similarities between this title and its predecessor makes reading both redundant. The mystery itself is almost identical to that found in the previous book, set in Tangier. There are the usual political red herrings and false paths, but once again in the end a rather simple motive to the murder of an Englishman in the Spanish port is revealed.
Pearce does his usual fine job of setting the scene with Barcelona’s wide avenues and colorful characters including Catalonian Nationalists, Spanish bureaucrats, an anarchist or two and a few smugglers. Also of interest is the recurring character of Chantale de Lissac, half-Morrocan, half-French, and the love interest for Seymour. The pair hope to use this second stretch of time together in the romantic city to help them decide if a more permanent relationship should be formed. If the two marry, it will be interesting to see what happens to Chantale when Seymour is given assignments in the eastern Mediterranean in the future.