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The Whispering City by Sara Moliner

The Whispering City

Thriller / Suspense   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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Since the deserved worldwide success of Zafon's cultured thrillers, Barcelona has been the place to go for elegant mysteries shrouded in shades of darkness. And why not? In real life, it's a city of shadows and urban delights. This masterful Spanish novel (in a talented translation by Jonathan Lethem's sister Mara Faye) is set in the post Civil War era of dark repression in the 1950s and follows a young journalist assigned to a murder case who soon realises that the official version she is supposed to report on is far from the truth. With the assistance of her academic cousin, she persists in her inconvenient enquiries and uncovers a disagreeable reality with deep roots in the evils of her society. Strong female characters and an unflinching look at endemic societal corruption make this a rewarding read. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

When a wealthy widow is found brutally murdered in her apartment in Barcelona in 1952 a young journalist, Ana Marti, is appointed as the official reporter for the police investigation and is even allowed to sit in on interviews. Ana has previously only covered social and fashion events but really gets involved with this case, especially as she recognises the victim and some of the friends. When Ana discovers some love letters the dead woman had received she consults a distant cousin, Beatriz, a linguist who specialises in use of language and dialects, in the hope of identifying the author of the letters. The two women work together like old-fashioned sleuths in a British thriller, but they find themselves in a very dangerous situation as they uncover material that incriminates many of Barcelona’s society figures. This is a thrilling tale which evokes vividly Franco’s fascist regime and the intervention of Beatriz provides a most unusual and interesting dimension. Highly recommended.

If you like Sara Moliner you might also like to read books by Jane Thynne, David Hewson and David Gillham.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Sara Moliner is the pseudonym of the writing duo Rosa Ribas and Sabine Hofmann, both academics, and their professional background shows in this intriguing thriller with a literary element. Set in Barcelona in 1952, the story begins with the murder of a prominent socialite, the wealthy widow Mariona Sobrerroca. In this high-profile case, the police – led by the incisive Inspector Castro – must make no mistakes, while the public’s appetite for details of the investigation is fed by the young journalist Ana Martí Noguer. When Ana discovers a bundle of letters at the crime scene, she realises there is another aspect to Mariona’s death, one the police have overlooked, and she enlists the help of her philologist cousin Beatriz to solve the crime. But as the plot thickens, so the city’s most influential figures are implicated in a related scandal, and Ana and Beatriz find themselves in great danger.
~ Karen Howlett

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The Whispering City by Sara Moliner

Winner of an English PEN 'PEN Translates!' award. Barcelona, 1952: General Franco's fascist government is at the height of its oppressive powers, casting a black shadow across the city. When wealthy socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is found dead in her mansion in the exclusive Tibidabo district, the police scramble to seize control of the investigation. Ana Marti Noguer, an eager young journalist, is surprised to be assigned this important story, shadowing Inspector Isidro Castro. But Ana soon realises that a bundle of strange letters unearthed at the scene point to a sequence of events dramatically different from the official version. She enlists the help of her cousin Beatriz, a scholar, and what begins as an intriguing puzzle opens up a series of revelations that implicate the regime's most influential figures. The two women have placed themselves in mortal danger. As the conspiracy unfolds, Ana's courage and Beatriz's wits will be their only weapons against the city's corrupt and murderous elite.


'The Whispering City is not simply a magnificent thriller: it is a vivid and forensic dissection of an era cloaked in a tyranny of silence' -- Marc Pastor, internationally bestselling author of Barcelona Shadows

'One of the most original, dynamic, convincing and addictive crime novels around today' El Mundo

'Ingenious twists and turns ... gives real pause for thought' -- Elizabeth Buchan Daily Mail

'An exciting, original an thoughtful thriller that paints a vivid picture of the awfulness of life in Barcelona, and indeed in the whole of Spain, during the fascist years' Literary Review

About the Author

Sara Moliner is the pseudonym for the writing duo Rosa Ribas and Sabine Hofmann. Rosa Ribas was born in 1963 in Barcelona, and since 1991 has lived in Frankfurt where she teaches at the university. She is the celebrated author of six previous novels. Sabine Hofmann was born in 1964 and is a former lecturer in philology at Frankfurt University. The Whispering City is their first novel together. Highly acclaimed in Spain, it will be published in several languages around the world.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th January 2016


Sara Moliner

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Abacus an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


416 pages


Thriller / Suspense
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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