When it comes to Luisa Montiflores, Cassandra Reilly’s translator job broadens into that of an agent. While in the U.S. for a conference, she agrees to meet with the publisher of her friend’s collection of short stories only to find herself a potential suspect in a murder investigation. Impatient to get back to the U.K. to sort out her own problems with another author, Cassandra starts investigating on her own.
I’m sure I read some of Barbara Wilson’s Pam Nilsen mysteries when I first found sapphic fiction. This book however was my first Cassandra Reilly. This novel can be read as a standalone as far as the mystery is concerned but I have a feeling that I might have enjoyed it more had I known Cassandra before. I never got completely invested in the story, in part because I didn’t care about Cassandra enough. I sympathized with her plight but didn’t empathize.
I did however love reading about an older character, an older amateur sleuth, an older lesbian. Cassandra is close to seventy, single, a free spirit with no home, using her friend’s place in London as a pied-à-terre.
The author is a translator as well, and all the parts about Cassandra’s work, what goes into translating, what it means to translate, bring a unique layer to the story.
The mystery is intriguing and intricate, a cosy with depth as I read in another review. The pace was slower than what I’m used to and I liked it more than I would have thought. What surprised me though is that what kept me engaged isn’t the mystery, it was Cassandra’s interactions with people: the author whose book she translated, the publisher, the people she meets while stuck in the U.S., and even the cops. Despite not feeling completely invested in her fate, I enjoyed being in her head.
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