Released from an asylum to help with a police enquiry, the quick-witted and foul-smelling narrator delves deep into the underworld of 1970s Barcelona to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl from a convent school. Aided only by his ageing prostitute sister and the voluptuous nymphomaniac, Mercedes, the narrator's investigations take him deeper into a mystery involving murdered sailors, suicidal daughters, a web of organised crime and a secret, underground crypt. It is a hilarious detective romp through seedy underworld Barcelona.
Eduardo Mendoza was born in 1943 in Barcelona. He spent some years in New York working as an interpreter for the United Nations before returning to his native city. Other novels include No Word from Gurb (Telegram). Widely considered to be one of Spain's leading contemporary novelists, he has won many literary prizes internationally.