Sin, Redemption and the New Generation of Detective Fiction in Spain:

 Lorenzo Silva’s Bevilacqua series



Renée Craig-Odders

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point



Stephen Knight has shown how a new pattern of crime fiction that “ratifies new attitudes to crime-control” emerged after the Second World War. As Knight notes, the detective in British and American fiction became a policeman, “acting with institutional support, conducting more or less accurately reported police business” (168). In Spain, however, the police procedural emerged relatively late. It followed on the heels of the hard-boiled detective novel which also had emerged much later in Spain than in North America subsequent to the political and social liberalization that began in the late 1960’s. As I have shown in an earlier study, the first of the procedurals to appear in Spain perpetuated the view of the police and judicial systems as hopelessly flawed.(1) Consequently, they focused principally on atypical protagonists operating within that system. In the late nineties, however, a number of new police protagonists that began to redefine the genre were introduced to the reading public in Spain. Among them were Lorenzo Silva’s Sergeant Rubén Bevilacqua and Corporal Virginia Chamorro, the protagonists of one of the most successful contemporary crime series in Spain. The series is currently comprised of four novels; El lejano país de los estanques (1998), El alquimista impaciente (2000), La niebla y la doncella (2002), and La reina sin espejo (2005) and four short stories published together in 2005 in Nadie vale más que otro. The first three stories; “Un asunto rutinario” (2001), “Un asunto familiar” (2002) and “Un asunto conyugal” (2003) originally appeared on Silva’s website. Bevilacqua and Chamorro, are members of Spain’s new Guardia civil and the series foregrounds both the inherent discord between individual liberty and social responsibility in a democratic society as well as the seemingly incongruous improving perception of the police in Spain. While Bevilacqua and Chamorro are very unlike their largely corrupt literary predecessors in Spain, they are nevertheless clearly informed by the heroes of the hard-boiled tradition. Each of the Bevilacqua novels evidences numerous allusions to both hard-boiled fiction as well as many other literary, cinematic and cultural predecessors. These allusions trace the evolving tradition of popular culture to which the novels belong. Here, I should like to examine the manner in which Silva foregrounds associations with texts and authors of both the hard-boiled school, especially Chandler, and others not part of popular fiction like King Alfonso X. The result is a “new hybrid” of the hard-boiled tradition in Spain not dissimilar to that which Ralph Willet finds in contemporary American hard-boiled detective fiction:

Hard-boiled detective fiction in the twentieth century both emulates High Art Literature and challenges the hierarchies produced by categories through intertextuality. The blurring of the distinction between Popular and High Art in the work of such novelists as Robert B. Parker enables hard-boiled fiction to be regarded as a new hybrid and self-consciously intertextual form. (2) 


In terms of characterization, a number of references and allusions in the Bevilacqua series evoke characters from classic American novels and films in the hard-boiled tradition.  Indeed several of the stock character types that populate the novels were created by writers like Chandler. It would be fair to say, for instance, that the prevalence of blondes in the Bevilacqua novels is not reflective of the general Spanish population which, in part, is why there are numerous foreigners. Rather, it is reminiscent of Chandler whose romantic ideal of the blonde with cornflower blue eyes is well-known.(2)  This preference of Silva’s extends to some of the Spanish characters also. Chamorro is compared on more than one occasion to Veronica Lake; not only for her physical appearance inasmuch as she is described as “medio-rubia” and tall while Veronica Lake was a 5’2” platinum blonde, but also for her attitude. Despite his acknowledgement of her attractiveness, Bevilacqua considers an intimate relationship with Chamorro inappropriate and, in a nod to Hammett, compares his situation to that of Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon:

Siempre he creído que un policía puede y en parte debe sentirse seducido por una criminal, si en el último momento se las arregla para insultarla como Sam Spade a Brigid O’Shaughnessy al final de El halcón maltés, a ser posible con la misma cara que Humphrey Bogart.  Pero sentirse seducido por una compañera, dejando aparte otras infracciones, constituye una dispersión mental incalculablemente perniciosa. El torero sólo debe pensar en el toro, . . . (El lejano país,  67)


Like Spade, Bevilacqua plays out some of the principal thematics of the hard-boiled detective but he is not the same sort of antihero.(3) Rather, in some respects, he is more like Chandler’s ex-cop Marlowe who Willet calls “a sensitive, decent man operating in a world that is violent and corrupt” albeit not a stlyized character like Marlowe (13).  Bevilacqua, like Marlowe, is sometimes nearly seduced by the criminals or suspects. When he meets the spectacular widow of the victim in El alquimista impaciente whose deep voice reminds him of Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep for example, he is momentarily speechless yet manages to resist the temptations of the femme fatale.  On the other hand, his comparison of his ex-wife to Barbara Stanwyck in La niebla reveals that he is not always successful in steering clear of the femme fatale. In still another instance Chamorro’s appearance is compared to Veronica Lake’s in a famous scene from Ramrod (La mujer de fuego). These cinematic allusions to film noir classics of the 1940’s are of the overtly imitational sort (pastiche) and are emblematic of thematic and stylistic elements of the hard-boiled genre. On the other hand, the reference to the 1941 screwball comedy Sullivan’s Travels, which pertains to a different vein of popular culture, is of particular interest because it is a satire about a successful Hollywood director who wants to make a serious picture about poverty and hardship in America. Ultimately, the film makes a statement about the value of escapist entertainment. Crime fiction, of course, is part of that same tradition and many have debated its merits and contrasted it with serious literature. Silva certainly has pondered the same questions. Even after receiving the most prestigious literary prize in Spain for El alquimista impaciente his remarks in an interview for The Broadsheet about the review that appeared in El País reveal that this preoccupation remains a valid one for crime writers:

It was a strange one because it was also very complimentary about the book . . . I assume they have some sort of prejudice against crime stories although I realise that when you win a prize, many people want to criticise both it and the winner. But this feeling is nothing new. In the 1930’s in America and Britain the intellectuals also said that it was low level stuff.  And the funny thing is that its just the same 70 years later. Of course not everybody feels this way. I’ve had a couple of reviews written by professors of Spanish and other important critics and they’ve recognised that a crime story can be a good novel. One of them said that “It’s time to say that in his moments, Chandler is better than Hemingway.” (An English Interview, 2)


In addition to the foregoing allusions to popular novels and films, the Bevilacqua novels also include references to and citations from works not associated with popular culture.   Some of these, including War and Peace function principally to indicate the atypical background and intellect of the detective and, as Willet’s would argue, to deflate the conventional anti-literary stance that conflates culture and decadence in crime fiction while other allusions that I should like to examine in more detail represent thematic parallels with the cases that Bevilacqua investigates (14). 

The first of these allusions are found in the titles of the novels. The most transparent of these is La niebla y la doncella, the third book in the series, which clearly recalls Shubert’s Death and Maiden in both title and theme. El lejano país de los estanques is more obscure, however, in its allusion to a passage from Virginia Wolf’s The Waves (1931). The Waves traces the lives of six people through a series of six interior monologues that reflect on themselves and the others. These monologues are interspersed with descriptive prose about the waves and tides of the sea as representative of the ebb and flow of life. The seventh character in the novel, the central yet absent Percival, represents Virginia Woolf's brother Thoby, who died in 1906. Identity, then, is the central theme as each of the characters assess themselves in relation to the others, revealing vulnerability and insecurity not perceived by the others. Silva’s Eva Heydrich, the victim in El lejano país de los estanques, is characterized as an extraordinarily beautiful and manipulative woman whose abuse of her many admirers identifies her initially as the femme fatale. Despite never having met her, the detective eventually develops evident sympathy for her. Like Woolf’s Percival whose monologue is absent from the text because he is already dead, the Eva character is thus created entirely from other’s perceptions of her and the detective’s quest is as much about knowing the victim as identifying the criminal.(4) The title of the fourth book in the series; La reina sin espejo,  calls to mind Lewis Carrol’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. The connection here appears to be between the victim of Silva’s novel and the distortion and reversal of reality that Alice encounters. Moreover, the mirror, as Stefano Tani has noted, is one of the hallmarks of postmodern detective fiction because it offers both a distorted, changed, removed present version of the past and refers to the deception of the suspense narrative process. The mirror, as it also appears in such texts as Snow White is connected also to the magical practice of catoptromancy or divination by means of mirrors. Snow White looks into the mirror to know the future. Silva’s victim fails to do that. 

Each of the titles, then, refers to the inevitable fate of the victim and alludes to the melancholic reality that disorder can only be controlled temporarily.

Another and perhaps the most significant of the literary allusions in the Silva series is that each of the novels is prefaced with a passage from the Lapidario of Alfonso X a book of gemological and astrological lore that describes the mystical powers of stones and minerals. Stones or minerals are described for each of the thirty degrees in each sign of the zodiac (although there are numerous lacunae) and each description is followed by a brief description of the star(s) that has power over the stone. These passages, as I will show, always allude to the victims and together with the Vila’s concluding thoughts, which I will examine later, frame the narrative with a warning of imminent peril and the sense of a predetermined fate.(5)  

Each of the complete citations from the Lapidary speaks of the results of combining certain elements. The citation that precedes El lejano país de los estanques, which is part of the chapter on diamonds from the Lapidario, describes their physical properties: 


This stone will break all others, piercing or cutting them, without any of them leaving a mark on it. The diamond will do yet another thing: if it is rubbed together with other stones, it will pulverize all of them. But there is a kind of lead, which in Arabic is called azrob and in Latin stannu, which will break this stone in the following manner: when the lead is wrapped around the stone and hit with a hammer, the stone will break right away, and when the lead is then fashioned into a mortar and pestle, the stone, once it has been broken, can be ground into a powder. (Bahler and Gyékényesi Gatto, 46)


We recall that the victim, Eva Heydrich, was of such extraordinary beauty that she easily dominated all others in life but that, ultimately, she was destroyed.

The citation prefacing El alquimista impaciente comes from the chapter discussing gold and is the only instance in the Lapidario where alchemy is treated in some detail (Bahler and Gyékényesi Gatto, 12). In it, the author warns the ignorant against mixing gold with lesser metals:

The nature of the stone of this metal is such that, when mixed with copper, it becomes like glass and breaks, but it fuses with it. Also, when mixed with tin, it turns black, and when mixed with silver, it takes on its whiteness, and so on, taking the color of every metal with which it fuses. For this reason, those who work in alchemy, which is called “major works,” have to bear in mind that they must not hurt the name of that science, since alchemy means mastery to make things better, not worse. Hence, those who take noble metals and mix them with common ones, understanding neither the science nor the mastery, cause damage to those which are noble and do not better those which are common. (Bahler and Géykényesi Gatto, 68)


The fact that the victim works at a nuclear power plant may be only a happenstance but, if so, it a propitious one. Nuclear power is produced through the process of fission which involves the transmutation (splitting) of atoms to produce atoms of different elements and energy.(6) This transmutation can be said to parallel that of the victim. Alchemy, to which the title and the preceding citation from the Lapidario refer, is not limited to the attempt to transmute base metals into precious metals but is a multifaceted subject that includes also the attempts to create an elixir to cure all ills as well as an one which would lead to immortality. The magical substance that would enable these transmutations was called the philosopher’s stone. The impatient alchemist to whom the title refers is, of course, the victim who becomes a criminal. In this case, money is both the magical substance that creates the “other” and it is the dangerous one that ultimately destroys him. The procurement of sufficient quantities of it for a constantly inflating lifestyle results in his change from the harmless man known to his wife and co-workers to the other man whose greed allows him to undertake the slow murder of a competitor. The means of death by radioactive poisoning parallels his own degeneration. 

The citation that precedes La niebla y la doncella refers to the first stone treated in the Lapidario. The stone is called magnetes in Latin and the section that Silva cites speaks of its magnetic properties:

This stone has in it the natural virtue to attract iron with very great force, so that it looks like a great marvel to those who do not know the nature of things. They should not marvel that this stone, which is hot and dry, can attract iron, which is cold and dry, because if they kept in mind what learned men have said, they would find that all things that attract one another do it in two ways: either because they are alike or because they are opposites. (Bahler and Géykényesi Gatto, 23)


The allusion here is to the murderous police officer and eventual victim, Anglada, the one whose perpetual threshold position both attracts Vila and repels Chamorro.

Finally, the citation that precedes La reina sin espejo comes from the section referring to the stone called azarnech in the Lapidario. In Latin, this stone is called orpiment which due to the arsenic it contains is a deadly poison. Silva borrows the section from The Lapidario stating: “This stone is found is in many places and in many mines . . . By nature it is hot and dry in the fourth degree and it contains great heat.” The Lapidario goes on to explain that when the stone is burned and mixed with copper and borax “the stone will make the copper turn the color of gold, . . . However, it will not be natural gold. . . . This is so because burning it turns it into a finer substance” (Bahler and Géykényesi Gatto, 172). The reference to the victim then, as in each of the previous citations, alludes to the incongruity between initial favorable appearances and underlying destructive realities.

As is often the case in hard-boiled fiction, this disparity between appearance and reality is echoed in the settings of each of the novels. The first three novels in the series take place in hot and steamy tropical locales; El lejano país de los estanques on the Balearic island of Mallorca, El alquimista impaciente,set in part in Marbella, Málaga and La niebla y la doncella on the island of La Gomera in the Canary archipelago. In contrast, the crime in La reina sin espejo takes place in the country home of the victim in Zaragoza –an apparent nod to that other vein of detective fiction- but much of the novel is set in Barcelona. In any case, both the glamorous, superficial trappings of the tourist havens and the country home conceal an underlying danger. The nightclubs and nudist beaches of the tourist havens with their excess of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and uninhibited behavior are also signifiers of the moral decay. This effect is compounded by the weather which is frequently extreme throughout the series. The investigations generally take place either in the tropical locations mentioned and/or during the month of August where the heat is an oppressive presence that both literally and figuratively promotes decay and malaise. La niebla y la doncella is a particularly striking example in that the case has remained unsolved for more than two years when Vila and Chamorro finally arrive on the scene in La Gomera. Here, one is reminded of Chandler’s The Big Sleep where the rain is a constant presence in the narrative. Silva’s La Gomera is certainly film noir like, almost gothic; again, not unlike Chandler at times.(7) At one point in La niebla y la doncella the rain and fog in combination with the darkness of night render driving nearly impossible as the detective’s discomfort and ignorance is contrasted to the knowledge and ease of the driver. The description functions as a metaphor for the ultimate revelation of the driver as the killer – the one who already knows where the road leads:

La humedad lo impregnaba todo. Creí ver hayas, sabinas, laureles. . . .  Los árboles se entrelazaban unos con otros, formando una masa densa, entre la que casi parecía imposible pasar. . . . Anglada conducía impasible, o quizá disfrutando de nuestro asombro. Siempre produce un irreprimible placer asistir al deslumbramiento de otro ante algo que uno conoce de antes. Su mirada estaba fija en la carretera y en la niebla que la difuminaba ante sus ojos. Resulta ingrato, manejar un coche contra la niebla, pero a ella no parecía producirle aspaviento alguno. (142-3)


Just as the citations that precede the Bevilacqua novels clearly reference the victims so too do Bevilacqua’s concluding thoughts. Each of the endings involves both sympathizing and moralizing.(8) It is in this respect that Bevilacqua departs significantly from his hard-boiled predecessors and, to some degree comes dangerously close to the detective-as-redeemer never achieved by Chandler and ridiculed by many.(9) While Philip Marlowe tends to “bow out with either a wry joke at his own expense (The High Window) or an expression of futility (The Big Sleep),” which makes “toughness look like the best way to fight the void,” Bevilacqua reflects upon the fate of the victims at the end of each of the novels (Wolfe, 63). In effect, he is contemplating the possibility of redemption:

Después de todo . . . tuve la debilidad de experimentar una póstuma compasión por Eva Heydrich. Sin condescendencia, con más afecto que piedad. Nadie es tan malvado que ninguna persona deba quererle. Viendo cómo todos desertaban, me entró una ansia conmovidad de hacerle compañía. (El lejano país, 285)


Just short of maudlin, Bevilacqua gets hold of himself: “Tarde o temprano se secan las lágrimas, se da media vuelta y se piensa en lo que habrá que hacer de cena” (285). Nevertheless, he cannot resist a similar lament after the second case:


Desde entonces, he pensado con cierta frecuencia en Trinidad Soler. . . . Creo que Trinidad fue consciente de la muerte que había detrás de ese azul, . . . Como todos sabemos de la negrura infinita que se oculta tras el cielo de una mañana de verano.

. . .

Esto es lo que querría comprender: por qué lo aceptó. Nunca he pretendido juzgarle, porque no es mi trabajo, porque ningun castigo puede añadirse al que recibió y porque una vez le hice una promesa que me toca honrar. Tan sólo me gustaría ser capaz de entender por qué un hombre como él quiso pasar la raya. (El alquimista, 281)


This fatalistic suggestion recurs in the La niebla y la doncella when Vila exonerates both himself for failing to maintain indifference and professional distance and the criminal turned victim by attributing the events to destiny: “cuando yo llegué la historia ya estaba escrita y no admitía enmienda ni redención. Nadie podía impedir una vez que ellas lo habían decidido, aquel misterioso y fatídico abrazo entre la niebla y la doncella” (355). In a final example, Bevilacqua is reminded of Neus, the victim to whom the title La reina sin espejo refers at the end of the novel, when another young guard sings the legionaire song “El novio de la muerte.” The verses “Y al regar con sangre la tierra ardiente, murmuró el legionario con voz doliente” function to contrast the soldier’s unquestioning sense of purpose with Neus’ downfall (379). In the end, however, the detective absolves Neus of her quite literally fatal flaw:

Pero me conmovió sentir cómo palpitaba la fe, una fe que yo no podría nunca profesar, en el canto de aquella muchacha arrebatada por el vino. Al final, descurrí entonces, lo único sabio es creerse algo y entregarle el corazón. Ni siguiera importa que tenga mucho sentido, porque nadie sabe para qué estamos aquí. Eso fue lo que Neus perdió, y con ello se le vino abajo el sueño y acabó siendo menos que el peón que había sido, como todos en la casilla de salida. Así fue como conoció, y no pudo resistir, la soledad inmensa y definitiva de la reina sin espejo. (378)


In each case, the narrative is thus framed by a preface forewarning of imminent peril and a concluding epitaph expressing a predetermined fate that cannot be altered nor wholly understood. While melancholic in tone, at the same time these endings underline a final sense of solidarity and sympathy absent in much of the hard-boiled tradition.

Throughout the Bevilacqua series Silva renegotiates the tenets of the hard-boiled tradition in Spain through the establishment of associations with multiple subtexts pertaining to both popular and high culture. While in both the structure and characterization there are clear echoes of the hard-boiled tradition, at the same time we see new models particularly with regard to the depiction of the Spanish police who were formerly the object of universal indictment. In the final analysis, despite the world of corruption and greed portrayed, the detective characters created by Silva are not the same two dimensional alienated individuals as either their hard-boiled foreign or their Spanish predecessors.  Instead they are servants of the people, quite as flawed in many ways, yet dedicated to their jobs and capable of compassion for both the victims and the criminals. Despite the melancholic tone of the endings, there is ultimately an affirmation of the existence of these virtues in contemporary society.



(1). The relative scarcity of the police novel in Spain also correlates directly to the long standing public perception of the paramilitary police system as the corrupt enforcer of fascist rule under Franco which was reflected in the negative portrayal of the police typical to the detective novels of the post-transition years. In this respect, the police procedural in Spain clearly enters into an ideological and political debate very different from its North American and British counterparts. See Renée W Craig-Odders, “Shades of Green:  The Police Procedural in Spain,” in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Detective Fiction:  Essays on the Género Negro Tradition: 103-122.


(2). The famous passage on blondes from The Long Goodbye, alludes to this ideal:   “There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are blonde as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very very tired when you take her

home” (72).


(3). Ralph Willet calls Spade a “near-psychopath” and notes:  Spade is a mirror image and sets down the themes of his earlier work: the ubiquity of crime, duplicity and corruption, the manipulative but necessary operation of role-playing - and the impossibility in a complex, predatory environment of imposing order through the solution of crimes. Spade's actions derive from a philosophy of the universe as a random series of unrelated contingent events, and some of the features of Spade's behaviour - impersonality, the concealment of thoughts and information, the need to maintain detachment and control (as in the famous Hemingwayesque account of rolling a cigarette) - are brought into play as he attempts to cope with his situation and his knowledge. While those attempts command respect, they fail to render the character more sympathetic. His long speech offering reasons for turning in the murderer Brigid O'Shaughnessy has been read as constituting a code of honour, morality and professionalism. Morally however Spade is only slightly ahead of his partner Miles Archer and the crooks against whom he pits himself. . . Like the Op Sam Spade has found a job that suits a temperament which in certain circumstances would allow him to function as a criminal” (9-10).


(4). Silva has expressed his affinity for Woolf on his website:  “Esta escritora es para mí una especie de amor de juventud. Un amor que incluso llegó a los celos, por cuya influencia le suprimí durante un tiempo su apellido de casada y preferí referirme a ella con su nombre de soltera, Virginia Stephen. Este amor se alimentaba al principio de alguno de los retratos de juventud que de ella se conservan, en los que resplandece su belleza lacia y distinguida, reflejo pálido de la belleza rotunda de su audaz hermana Vanessa (de quien se dice que gustaba de bailar desnuda de cintura para arriba en las fiestas del grupo de Bloomsbury). Pero lo que de verdad me hizo querer a Virginia fue la lectura de un libro magistral que lleva por título Las olas” (“Zona desdinerizada:  Virginia Woolf”).  It may be that this affinity influenced also his choice of the name Virginia Chamorro.


(5). In a personal email, Lorenzo Silva writes: “as you point out, there's a lot of intertextuality in these novels, beginning with the citations of the Lapidario. I must say you are the first to unveil in writing (as far as I know) what I intended to do there. You make it explicit the hidden meaning (and common intention) of those citations, and do it right. I was starting to fear nobody would realize...” 


(6). While the analogy between fission and alchemy here came to mind while reading El alquimista impaciente, it may constitute what William Irwin would call an “accidental association” (296).  A passage from Rutherford – A Brief Biography by John Campbell which I later read, however, does support it:  “He [Ernest Rutherford] explained the perplexing problem of radioactivity as the spontaneous disintegration of atoms . . ., he determined the structure of the atom and he was the world’s first successful alchemist (he converted nitrogen into oxygen). Or, put another way, he was first to split the atom” (1).


(7). Willet notes that in The Big Sleep and elsewhere, Chandler imposes a sense of the Gothic:  there are rats lurking behind the wainscoting. General Sternwood, crippled by debauchery, exists on heat ‘like a newborn spider’ and his humid, malodorous orchid house grows plants whose stalks resemble ‘the newly washed fingers of dead men’” (16).


(8). In a personal email, Silva has responded to my thoughts on Vila’s final remarks:  “There's no moralizing aim in the final thoughts of Vila. Just a summary of essential facts. Vila doesn't appoint any responsible in terms of guilt, but in terms of mechanics. No doubt Eva Heydrich, or Trinidad Soler or Ruth Anglada release the deadly energy that in the end will destroy them. But Vila doesn't judge. He invites the reader to a moral judgment (this is not only an entertaining tale), but without any indication of what the outcome of such judgment must be. And he openly sympathizes with the three. They are the dead. The defeated. The ones he is always compassive (sic) and affectionate with.”  On the other hand, José María Pozuelo Yvancos agrees with me: “La creciente densidad discursiva de Bevilacqua le lleva a comentarlo todo; en cierta manera, y bajo el pretexto de su vieja condición de psicólogo (pese a las distancias que establece respecto a ella), acaba por ir moralizando en exceso” (quoted by Silva online, “La reina sin espejo:  La cal de la crítica . . . y la arena”).


(9). Chandler’s famous passage reads “In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony . . . But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean who is neither tarnished nor afraid.  The detective in this kind of story can be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor. . . . “(The Simple Art of Murder, 20).  Ross Macdonald ridiculed the passage as trite stereotyped and out-of-date:  “While there may be a “quality of redemption” in a good novel, it belongs to the whole work and is not the private property of one of the characters . . . The detective-as-redeemer is a backward step in the direction of sentimental romance, and an over-simplified world of good guys and bad guys” (19).





Bahler, Ingrid and Katherine Gyékényesi Gatto, eds.  The Lapidary of King Alfonso X The Learned.  New Orleans:  University Press of the South, 1997.


Campbell, John.  Rutherford – A Brief Biography.  2001. <> (9 June 2002).


Chandler, Raymond.  The Long Good-Bye.  New York, Ballentine, 1971.


---.  The Simple Art of Murder.  New York:  Ballentine, 1972.


Craig-Odders, Renée W, “Shades of Green:  The Police Procedural in Spain.” Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Detective Fiction:  Essays on the Género Negro Tradition.  Eds. Craig-Odders, Renée W, Jacky Collins and Glen S. Close. Jefferson, North Carolina:  McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2006.  103-122.


“Entrevista en directo con Lorenzo Silva.”  Círculo de Lectores.  2002.  <> (26 Feb. 2002.)


“Gana Lorenzo Silva el premio Nadal de Novela.”  Infosel.  2002.. <> (27 Mar. 2002).


Irwin, William, “What is an Allusion.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59.3 Summer 2001: 287-297.


Johnson, Alex. “Crime Doesn’t Pay (enough).”  The Broadsheet. 2002.  <> (27 Mar. 2002).


Knight, Stephan. Form and Ideology in Crime Fiction. London: Macmillan, 1980.

Macdonald, Ross, “The Writer as Detective Hero,” On Crime Writing.  Santa Barbara:  Capra, 1973.


Pozuelo Yvancos, José María.  Lorenzo Silva, The English Page.  2000.

<> (28 May 2006).



Silva, Lorenzo.  El alquimista impaciente.  Barcelona: Destino, 2001.


---.  El lejano país de los estanques.  Barcelona: Destino, 1998.


---.  Nadie vale más que otro:  Cuatro asuntos de Bevilacqua.  Barcelona, Destino, 2004.


---.  La niebla y la doncella.  Barcelona, Destino, 2002.


---.  La reina sin espejo.  Barcelona, Destino, 2005.


---.  Una página personal dedicada a los lectores. 2000. <>  (25 Feb. 2002).


---.   lectores@lorenzo-silva.comPaper on Bevilacqua's novels.” 20 Dec. 2004. Personal e-mail.  (20 Dec. 2004).


Sullivan’s Travels.  Dir.  Preston Sturges.  Perf.  Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall, Byron Foulger and Margaret Hayes.  1941.


Tani, Stefano.  The Doomed Detective. The Contribution of the Detective Novel to Postmodern American and Italian Fiction. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984.


Willett, Ralph.  “Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction.”  British Association for American Studies.  2006. <>

      (22 mar. 2006).


Wolfe, Peter.  Something More Than Night:  The Case of Raymond Chandler.  Bowling Green, OH:  Bowling Green State UP, 1985.