MacLehose Press

An Englishman in Madrid

by Eduardo Mendoza
Translated by Nick Caistor

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Anthony Whitelands, an English art historian, is invited to Madrid to value an aristocrat’s collection. At a welcome lunch he encounters José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder and leader of the Falange, a nationalist party whose antics are bringing the country ever closer to civil war.

The paintings turn out to be worthless, but before Whitelands can leave for London the duque’s daughter Paquita reveals a secret and genuine treasure, held for years in the cellars of her ancestral home. Afraid that the duque will cash in his wealth to finance the Falange, the Spanish authorities resolve to keep a close eye on the Englishman, who is also being watched by his own embassy.

As Whitelands – ever the fool for a pretty face – vies with Primo de Rivera for Paquita’s affections, he learns of a final interested party: Madrid is crawling with Soviet spies, and Moscow will stop at nothing to secure the hidden prize.

‘If this novel is a comic confection, it is deadly serious in its import; this Englishman’s excursion takes us to the very heart of Spain’ Michael Kerrigan, T.L.S.

‘A funny, gripping and perfectly balanced blend of P G Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene’ Independent on Sunday.

‘A highly enjoyable read [that] elegantly evokes the eccentricities of Spain’s capital city’ Spectator.

‘An extraordinary blend of comedy and tragedy’ BBC History magazine.

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