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  • Reviews for A Shortcut to Paradise by Teresa Solana
  • A Shortcut to Paradise |  Review |  Teresa Solana
Reviews for A Shortcut to Paradise by Teresa Solana
'Marina Dolc, the telegenic author of lurid best-sellers, is bludgeoned to death with the trophy she has just been awarded in Barcelona. The runner-up, a pompous author of poor-selling literary novels, is arrested for the murder, but the reader knows he's innocent. He was busy getting drunk and then robbed outside a Barcelona disco when the murder occurred, but he can't prove it. Unlicensed Barcelona PIs Eduard Martinez and Borja Masdeu are hired to prove his innocence. Solana repeats the success of A Not So Perfect Crime (2009) using a broad satiric brush to skewer the pretensions of Catalan writers, literary critics, academics, and the wealthy, while more subtly showing that life in Barcelona is far more difficult
for ordinary citizens. The result offers occasional belly laughs, as in the memorial service for Dolc that begins bitchy but becomes an orgy-fistfight, courtesy of a celebrity caterer's hallucinogenic canapés, and the prison-yard rumor that the jailed writer is a serial killer and cannibal. It's great fun for crime fans-and anyone who has been bewitched by Barcelona.'
- Booklist
'A SHORTCUT TO PARADISE is the second novel from Catalan author, Teresa Solana, translated by Peter Bush and published by Bitter Lemon Press. I don't think I've ever not enjoyed a book published by them, and the trend continues.The book opens with translator, Ernest, about to default on the mortgage of his lovely home, all for the sake of 2000 Euros. Ernest decides the only thing to do is hold-up and rob a rich individual, which he proceeds to do outside one of Barcelona's hip night-clubs. The man he robs, Amadeu, is a literary writer in town for the presentation of the prestigious Golden Apple Fiction Prize and who has just lost (ungraciously) to a writer of popular fiction, Marina Dolc. At the same time as the robbery, Marina is being murdered back at the Ritz. However Amadeu is, not surprisingly, unable to prove his alibi and is arrested. His agent then calls in the unofficial private detective duo of non-identical twins, Eduard and Borja, who first appeared in A NOT SO PERFECT CRIME to clear Amadeu's name. The narration switches from the impecunious translator, to the twins and then via many other characters connected to the literary world until the murderer is discovered after an Agatha Christie style recreation of events on the night of the murder. A SHORTCUT TO PARADISE is not a who-dunnit really; on the crime plot framework hangs an amusing tale about writers, literary fiction, and the snobbery of some writers whose impenetrable works are overlooked in favour of populist fiction. Solana's pointed and funny remarks are aimed at a whole range of professions though, not just writers. And even if some of the humour is better appreciated in its native country, rather than in translation, there's plenty left that is universally recognisable. Though they do very little detecting, the twins are a delight. One is a sensible family man with responsibilities, the other has reinvented himself as the poor son of a noble family, an act which gets the pair hired by the rich to investigate infidelities and such like. They bicker constantly but the bond is strong. A SHORTCUT TO PARADISE, which also gives an insight into Barcelona and the Catalonian way of life, is a fun, quick read which left me hoping that there are plenty more books in the series.' - Eurocrime
'In Barcelona, fifty something bestselling author Marina Dolc wins the Sixth Edition of the Golden Apples Fiction Award. After gracefully receiving the misshapen fruit with a bite taken out on a Thasos base prize, Marina returns to the Ritz Hotel where she always stays. A late visitor arrives who she welcomes in her room though Marina is tired. The visitor picks up the statue and hammers her in the head with it. Her assassin leaves her dead with her prize next to her; a climax that comes from one of her novels.
The Catalan police realize the victim welcomed her killer into her room. They arrest author Amadeu Cabestany, who knew the deceased and came in second for the prize. Although they insist they are not detectives, but only consultants, the brothers Eduard Martinez and Borja Masdeu are hired to prove the prime suspect is innocent. Using the same tactics they applied to solving A Not So Perfect Crime and to their usual adultery case, the siblings bluff their way from one clue to another as they improvise the script while interviewing the pretentious ostentatious literati world.
The second bumbling Martinez-Masdeu satire lampoons the cast of characters who make up the literary world though ostensibly Barcelona, but could be London, Melbourne, Singapore, New York or Toronto as well. The amusing story line is fast-paced as the siblings trip over clues while exposing the greats and the wannabes as egomaniacs without substance. Although some of the translation loses the Spanish essence of the cast, fans will enjoy this nod to Peter Falk's Colombo while endearingly mocking the hand that feeds Teresa Solana.' - Mystery Gazette
'Marina Dolc, a bestselling writer, is clubbed to death by someone she lets into her room at the Barcelona Ritz. The murder weapon is her heavyweight trophy, so emulating the plot of her winning novel. A sycophantic critic writes her obituary, closing with: "You will be on the road to paradise, taking a short cut between the stars. Speaking Catalan and charming the angels with your smile". Her melodramatic novel is called, like this one, A Shortcut to Paradise. Teresa Solana's second novel featuring the detective twins Borja (the city-wise one) and Eduard (the homely one) is part roman à clef, part a plot within a plot. The quantity of the cast and the subplots is further compounded by bit-part characters with the sketchiest of backgrounds, with women called Maria, Marina, Mariajo or Mariona, Montse, Merche... or Maite. Clues are scattered like the breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel, and the whole has the implausible air of a fairy-tale night where only the unexpected is predictable. Not that confusion matters nearly as much as you might think. Once aboard the roller-coaster, the reader is swept onwards, disbelief firmly suspended, and critical faculties sparked on every occasion that the author introduces another suspect, another decoy - or another genre. It's pure Agatha Christie, in assembling the full cast for a reconstruction of the scene preceding the crime; pure Conan Doyle, in the relationship of the elder twin Borja to his sensible sidekick, Eduard; and sheer Dorothy L Sayers in the retired cop, Lluis Arquer. Yet the brightest star is the city of Barcelona, here seamed by taxi rides leading to the Up & Down club in Port Olimpic; to a "modernist salon" in Gracia (with an aphrodisiac meal contributed by Ferran Adria); along the briny Barceloneta, then back to the Hotel Ritz, scene of the crime. In Britain, crime is the one genre outside of world classics that gets translated regularly. It travels well, but this book has to work hard to hit home in the target language. That it does is a testament not only to the translator, Peter Bush, but also to the fact that here, too, we have more than our fair share of bad writers on good stipends; of sponsorship corrupted by personal and political interests. And we can appreciate a finishing touch that involves sending an unpopular writer to Coventry - or to Antarctica. Satire, after all, is a universal language.' - Independent
'The challenge is to find out who killed Catalan Writer Marina Dolc by braining her on the night of her big literary win--with the trophy. While the police keep the prime suspect-the runner-up of course-locked-up, unofficial private detectives Martinez and Masdeu are back on the Barcelona murder scene, mingling with publishing's hoi polloi. Solana has great fun skewering literary pretensions, most delightfully during a party at which the canapés have been spiked with hallucinogens. More please.' - Timeout
'The author creates a delightful picture of Barcelona in this highly entertaining murder mystery. Characters are larger than life - not always credible but guaranteed to raise a smile. First we meet Ernest, a family man, driven to extreme measures by debt. He buys a toy gun and robs a wealthy looking man outside a fashionable club. He will become the alibi for this man when he is a accused of murder a few hours later. The victim is Marina, a media figure and writer of best-sellers. She is battered to death in the Ritz Hotel after winning an important literary prize; the weapon is the trophy. The Catalan police arrest the chief suspect, who happens to be runner-up for the prize (and also the wealthy looking man). To prove his innocence, private detectives are hired - twins with contrasting personalities: the shrewd, debonair Borja and the anxious, honest Eduard. Much of the humour derives from situations, especially the coincidences, but there is a strong element of satire too. Social comment ranges from laugh out loud funny to sharp wit of a darker kind. Criticism of the press, politics and culture is sometimes veiled, sometimes less subtle. I particularly enjoyed the satire which targets the literary scene. In desperation the twin detectives stage a reconstruction of events to discover the murderer, as in an Agatha Christie novel. Failure! Even Borja has to admit that 'things aren't so easy in real life'. Then there is the book which is published with the pages out of order; it is declared a masterpiece of stunning lyricism! A Shortcut to Paradise is a clever, original novel - a detective thriller with a difference.' - New Books
'Teresa Solana's A Shortcut to Paradise translated by Peter Bush, is more a whimsical critique of literary rivalries than a straightforward murder mystery. Set in Barcelona, it begins with the murder of bestselling (and thus hated) author Marina Dolc, who is bashed in the head with the aptly-named Golden Apple trophy she's just won. The chief suspect is Amadeu Cabestany, the runner-up, who admires Kafka and writes with even less clarity. The fact that Cabestany has publicly threatened and reviled Dolc and occupies the adjacent hotel room only deepens suspicions. But the reader knows early on that the only thing Cabestany is guilty of is being insufferable. Into this cultural snake pit stumble twin brothers Borja Masdeu (his assumed name) and Eduard Martinez (his real one). They are "consultants " to the rich who pose, when the occasion calls for it, as private detectives. Here they are hired to clear Cabestany of the charge before the justice system grinds him to bits. This is a comic romp of the first order and the second in a series.' - ForeWard Reviews
'A Shortcut to Paradise is a hysterically funny murder mystery that also serves as an inviting travelogue to hip and fun Barcelona. Written by Teresa Solana and translated by Peter Bush, the novel is the second in Solana's series starring non-identical twins Eduard and Borja Martinez. Eduard is a family man, devoted to wife and kids, while Borja juggles two girlfriends and is intent on living the life of the rich - as he says, "Life is only easy for the rich ".
Eduard works to support his family and Borja works to support his image as a financially-ruined but genetically impeccable aristocrat. More through luck and a strange combination of pride (unfounded belief they can solve any puzzle) and humility (they are willing to grovel for information as needed), the twins do solve murder mysteries, unfolding Catalan history, culture, and idiosyncracies along the way.
In A Shortcut to Paradise, a bestselling writer of purple prose has been murdered and the entirety of the Catalan literary world - from critics to agents to novelists to poets - are possible perpetrators. When the police nab the hapless but egocentric Amadeu Cabestany (such a great writer that he is unintelligible on paper), Cabestany's agent calls the twins in to find the real murderer. There the fun begins. What a strange coincidence that a translator of literary texts - the subject of a recent posting of mine, in which I express my regard for all the wonderful translators who labor in obscurity - will turn out to play such a crucial role in revealing the truth behind purple prose lady's murder. But it will be the twins themselves who point the finger at the perpetrator and then proceed to recast the murdered writer from bestselling sellout to a writer of "transcendental ontic reflection ", worthy of entering "the literary canon alongside the great masters… " A final funny twist in a novel of many wonderful and laugh-inducing contortions.' - Readallday
'It's been a long time since I've read such a light hearted crime novel. In fact Teresa Solana's latest mystery A Shortcut to Paradise is so amusing, it is very likely to stretch its appeal beyond the usual crime aficionados. The novel, however, is not a cozy, by any means. Instead it's a satirically funny inside look at the highly competitive world of prize-winning Catalan literature. Some of us may not automatically think of bitter, murderous rivalry between competing authors who seek a lucrative prize, but then again the Booker Prize manages to stir some controversy every year-along with the occasional highly entertaining "what-the-hell-were-they-thinking " comment from judges, authors and readers.
Set in Barcelona, A Shortcut to Paradise concerns the brutal murder of prize winning Catalan author Marina Dolc, who has just won the Sixth edition of the Golden Apple Fiction prize. The prize is a 100,000 euros and the commemorative marble statue: "a misshapen fruit with a bite taken out, clutched by a hand attached to a square of Thassos marble that served as a pedestal. " Someone, apparently, was upset that Marina won the prize, and shortly after the award ceremony, that "someone " followed Marina up to her hotel room and bashed her head in with the marble statue. To add to the bizarre nature of the crime, the details of the murder mirrored those in Marina's latest prize-winning novel, A Shortcut to Paradise. Given the timing of the murder, and the choice of murder weapon, obviously someone was so incensed that Marina won the prize, that she was murdered as a result.
Shortly after the murder, rival author, and runner-up to the prize, Amadeu Cabestany is arrested. He'd considered the prize "earmarked " for him, and when Marina won, he was initially stunned but then bitterly disappointed enough to make a memorable scene in public. The fact he has no alibi for the time of the murder makes him the perfect patsy. But Amadeu's agent, Claudia hires the twins, Eduard Martinez and Borja "Pep " Masdeu to uncover the real killer. Because Amadeu is withdrawn, bitter and weird, he becomes the natural scapegoat for the crime, and it takes a considerable amount of ingenuity and luck on the part of Eduard and Borja to uncover the truth. Their search plunges the twins into the unexpectedly nasty world of the professional writer-a world in which smiles, compliments, and insincerity hide bitter rivalry.
The authors Marina and Amadeu create completely different books, and clearly there's a thread of amusing speculation concerning the issue of literary merit under the text. Marina's books are more-or-less trash but instant bestsellers with titles such as: The Rage of the Goddesses, Love Is Not For Me, and Milk Chocolate. On the other hand, Amadeu's novels which are largely indecipherable sink into oblivion. He is "one of these brilliant, misunderstood writers, who has surrendered himself to literature body and soul. " Are trashy novels "worthy " since they sell and get people to read? What's the use of a brilliant, intellectual novel if only a lousy 100 copies are sold? These are questions that lurk under the surface of this lively mystery.
This is the second novel, following A Not So Perfect Crime by Teresa Solana to feature the twins who are not strictly Private Investigators. The two men, complete opposites, operate a business called Trau consultants. Now in their forties, with spotty employment histories, the twins created their own business and try to stay one step ahead of any tax liabilities. Borja is the flamboyant risk-taker while Eduard is the stable workhorse who narrates the tale. Some really funny scenes take place between the two brothers as they operate on a shoestring budget and try to shift work to each other.
A Shortcut to Paradise, full of tongue-in-cheek humour, doesn't place the emphasis on the crime, but rather the novel concentrates on Barcelona life. The cast of characters are hit in various ways by the bust of the real estate bubble, and they all struggle to survive and sometimes step outside the bounds of legality. The delightful thing here, however, is the behind-the-scenes look at Spain's literary milieu: the viciousness, the bitchiness and the sheer wicked competitiveness of it all:
"To tell the truth, I can't say I've been to many literary soirées in my lifetime, but I'd always imagined them quite differently. You know, cultured, polite people conversing in measured tones, and naturally enough, disagreeing courteously and never raising their voices. Everybody here was screaming insults. The scene around me was disconcerting, to put it mildly. "
- Mostly Fiction
'Eduard Martinez and Borja"Pep" Masdeu are not really detectives.Rather they are 'consultants' working for the upper classes of Catalonia who conceal their shortcomings from their clients through a mixture of bluff and deception. Dealing mainly with cases involving real estate or adultery the twins generally leave more serious crimes to the Catalan police. However, when the best-selling author Marina Dolc is murdered in the Ritz hotel in Barcelona after winning a literary prize the amateur sleuths find themselves hired to solve the mystery. After the police arrest another author called Amadeu Cabestany as the chief suspect for the murder Eduard and Borja are asked to prove his innocence and to find the real culprit. The case leads them into the complex and comical world of the Barcelona literary scene where a gallery of grotesques form the main group of suspects.
Teresa Solana takes great delight in satirising the affectations of the Catalan literati and exposing the fragile egos and delusions of grandeur with which she invests her characters. Solana also has a talent for conveying broad clownish humour as the clumsy detecting duo appear to klutz their way from one unlikely scenario to another. However, this likeable tale suffers somewhat in the translation as the translator has opted to render Catalonian characters in an anglicised form that arguably detracts from the novel's charm. For example a Catalonian prisoner called Paquito Exposito is portrayed for English readers as a kind of cockney ruffian whose dialogue could have come straight from an Eastenders script, "But I ain't spread nowt, Director, sir.
I swear I ain't." As so much of the enjoyment of reading crime in translation involves gaining a sense of regional identity and dialect it seems a shame that many of the characters seem to have been turned into simplified English stereotypes. Nonetheless, this remains a lively and spiky satire that drips venom - and with some style.' - Crime Time
'A Shortcut to Paradise (Drecera al paradís, Edicions 62, 2007) is the second novel by Catalan writer Teresa Solana (Barcelona, 1962) featuring twin brothers Eduard and Josep (Pep) Martínez Estivill. But this detail is largely ignored by everyone since Pep introduces himself as Borja Masdéu-Canals Sáez de Astorga. They don't even look like brothers, due to one of those strange quirks of nature. Borja, like his mother, is handsome and good looking. Eduard looks more normal, like his father. During the last three years they have been running a rather peculiar detective agency, unlicensed. Obviously, they do not get involved with real crimes. They work mainly for the upper class. They buy and sell real-state property undercover, they also provide what can be called 'delicate arrangements' and, from time to time, they investigate marital infidelities. Just on one occasion they got involved in a complicated murder case (See her previous novel A Not So Perfect Crime, Bitter Lemon Press, 2008). One day, while Borja escorts a lady to a literary award ceremony in the luxurious Ritz Hotel in Barcelona, the winner, Marina Dolc, media figure and writer of best-sellers, is murdered. The killer has battered her to death with the trophy she has just won, an end identical to that of the heroine in her prize-winning novel. The same night the Catalan police arrest their chief suspect, Amadeu Cabestany, runner-up for the prize. Borja and Eduard are hired by Cabestany's literary agent to prove his innocence.
I do not find it necessary to have read the first instalment to fully appreciate the second novel in what can be expected becomes a longer series. All the necessary information is provided to the reader, perfectly integrated into the plot. The story is told from the point of view of Eduard and, sometimes, by a third person narrator. The action develops smoothly, with high doses of humour. I often found myself laughing aloud while reading it. The reader is one step ahead on the events and can easily find the solution to the case. But the detective story plays a secondary role, it is mainly an excuse for a parody of a present-day society. Very well written. A joyful reading. Highly recommended.' - Ignacioscribanoblogspot
'The Eduard Martinez and Borja "Pep" Masdeu twins try to make a living by working a variety of odd jobs requiring a certain level of discretion for the rich of Barcelona. Most, if not all of their clients are referred to them through word of mouth, which makes for plausible entry into all manner of strange situations and different substrata of the privilege. In A Shortcut to Paradise, the two twins step into the role of detectives as their services are engaged by the agent of Amadeu Cabestan, a serious writer who finds himself charged with murdering another writer of a more commercial bent, Marina Dolc, at the Barcelona Ritz.This book is a second installment chronicling the twins' comic forays into Barcelona's upper crust world, blending comedy, crime and dose of brusque commentary on the various social strata through which the twins bumble through. Dolc was in the hotel to receive Golden Apples Fiction Award. Cabestan came in second place and was heard making what were latter interpreted as threats. Indeed, Dolc did not enjoy her honor for long. Someone she knew smashed her head in with a statue of David, and then cleverly gave himself an apparently air-tight alibi through an ingenious use of the common watch. Amadeu Cabestan is arrested as the prime suspect. But he's clearly innocent - despondent over his fate, he ventures to the Up and Down Club where Barcelona's pretty young things congregate. It is outside this upscale club that he is mugged at the time of Dolc's murder. But the mugger vanishes and no one knows about his existence. Others who could provide clues have good reasons to stay mum. As Eduard and Borja stumble through the Catalonian literary world, including a party where the literati bare all in a drug-induced trance, as they search for clues to Cabestan's innocence, it soon dawns on one brother that they are in way over their head and that at stake is a man's life. They need a real detective to help them narrow down the list of likely suspects. But when they try to flush out the man who seemed to have been in two places at the same time, they suffer a blow as their movie-inspired reenactment of the crime yields nothing in the way of a confession from the prime suspect. The accused himself, meanwhile, becomes the center of fantastic rumors regarding his peculiar eating habits, which makes him a feared creature indeed in the prison where he's held pending investigation. Solana's incisive wit and scathing humor masterfully present a dark comedy of errors of which Cabestan falls victim to as a commentary on guilt and innocence and the power of faulty information in shaping perception of the accused. Solana's vision creates a real world populated with good characters (particularly interesting is the desperate family man turned mugger who is also Cabestan's alibi) who have deeply human reasons for the sometimes strange things that they do. The twins Eduard and Borja are likable: just two guys trying to make a living in a tough economy, and you end up laughing and worrying about them as they stumble from one situation to the next.Solana is not just an astute observer of the human nature, she also weaves a good yarn out of these life strands into an often funny, and sometimes darkly so, tale, which is, despite its mystery core, strangely about life itself and its comical turns and often inscrutable mysteries.' - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
'Teresa Solana's new novel featuring unlicensed detective twin brothers Pep (or Borja, his alter ego) and Eduard carries forward the satirical style of her first novel, A Not So Perfect Crime, as well as the tantalizing view of everyday life in Barcelona (among both the high and the low of Catalan society), along with a plot that is a bit more of a puzzle mystery than in the first novel. But Pep and Eduard are no brilliant crime-solvers: they have to pay (bribe, almost) a retired cop to solve the mystery for them. The pleasure, indeed, is not the solving of the crime as much as the comic twists and turns along the way. At numerous points, A Shortcut to Paradise (translated by Peter Bush from the original Catalan) made me think of the early novels of Evelyn Waugh. In particular, a chapter on one character's prison experience and another character's ultimate fate are reminiscent of the cruel farce of Waugh's satires. There's also a wild party that spirals out of control.
Solana also provides much comedy based on the literary scene of Barcelona, apparently (given the disclaimer at the end) pointed at specific targets. But as a reader unfamiliar with those real-life literati, I can attest that the comedy carries through without knowing the references. There's also some literary comedy concerning the literary value of certain kinds of writing, culminating in a final, extended joke regarding the fate of a posthumous manuscript.
But as with Eduard and Pep's first outing, a lot of the pleasure in reading the book comes from spending time with the disarmingly normal detectives, muggers, murderers, and falsely accused throughout the book, viewed through Eduard's first-person narrative and through third-person glimpses into the lives of others in the story.
I hope Solana keeps up this wonderful series: further comic and criminal forays into Barcelona life, and further installments in the brothers' lives (Eduard striving for an ordinary middle-class life and Borja dreaming of nobility, sort of) would be most welcome.' - International Noir Fiction

'Teresa Solano's A Shortcut to Paradise (Bitter Lemon Press, £8.99) is a Barcelona-set comic crime offering that heralds the return of the non-identical detective twins Borja and Eduard. The pair are commissioned to investigate the murder of Marina Dolc, best-selling populist writer, on the night she received a prestigious literary award. Was one of Dolc's rivals the killer? The reader knows from the outset that the hapless novelist (and runner-up) Amadeu Cabestany wasn't responsible for Dolc's death, but Cabestany affords Solana ample opportunity to loose comic barbs at the literary snobbishness that denigrates genre fiction in general and crime fiction in particular. The joke wears thin after a while, but Solano also has important things to say, albeit in a deceptively light and humorous fashion, about the global economic downturn, and how formerly upstanding citizens can be driven to criminal actions by forces beyond their control. Given that one of crime fiction's most important functions is social commentary, Solana's novel offers a valuable insight into contemporary Spanish life.'

- Irish Times
'The characters are introduced to the reader one at a time. The main ones have a whole chapter or two to tell their story, including a bit of background information but aside from all of this, they all seem to have some sort of connection to a swish, literary event. So, for example, there's a young, rather frazzled husband called Ernest. You can tell that he's a kindly, mild person. He takes his role as father, husband and (although meagre) breadwinner very, very seriously. He's a translator. He's had some bad luck to contend with lately and the household bills are piling up but he spares his wife the sorry details of their current financial state. But all he's doing is piling on the pressure for himself. Something's got to give ... and it does. Big-time. And without wishing to spoil the plot in any way, I think I can safely say that he ... decided to put himself into the shoes of the heroes he translated and, for the first time in his life, he took the bull by the horns. The story is based in a sultry and sweltering Barcelona: Solana says ... the streets were a morass of cars, noise and fumes. And in amongst all this oppressive and uncomfortable heat, there's also a mass of literary types attending an event in the city centre. The recipient is a middle-aged writer, Marina Dolc. But although she is a best-seller, her books are not universally loved. There's the odd reviewer out there using an acid pen, shall we say. And the similarity with what I'm actually doing right now in writing this review, is not lost on me. In fact, as I read further into this novel, I appreciated the whole set-up courtesy of Solana. Some would even call it a delicious send-up.
And so snobbery within this fictional literary world rears its ugly head. The reader learns the fate of Marina and we've introduced to several new characters, who all make the central plot more interesting and more complex. For example, there's a rather serious writer who's furious not to have won this prestigious prize. He thinks that Dolc writes trash - only fit for silly, suburban housewives. But it's trash which sells. His books do not. Go figure, as they say. And interspersed with all of this literary mayhem, we meet the two rather unorthodox Spanish gents who somehow, become embroiled in the whole Dolc case. It's all good, clean fun at the end of the day as well as being entertaining reading. Solana has a nice, easy style. She's also playful and teasing - just like a cat playing mercilessly with a mouse. I particularly enjoyed those characters who had a ridiculously high level of self-importance. I also found the ending to be satisfying and - just like Hercule Poirot, all questions are neatly answered. Recommended.' - Book Bag
'Starred REVIEW: 'The murder of popular novelist Marina Dolç on the very evening she receives the coveted Golden Apple Fiction Prize in Barcelona sets the stage for Solana's outstanding second mystery featuring unlicensed (and untrained) nonidentical twin detectives, Borja Masdéu and Eduard Martínez (after 2008's A Not So Perfect Crime). The arrest of Dolç's bitter rival, Amadeu Cabestany, quickly follows. Cabestany's literary agent hires Masdéu and Martínez to either prove Cabestany innocent or find the real killer. Solana brilliantly skewers the authors, agents, and critics who compose most of the suspects as well as the literary prizes they fight over. The odd but innocent Cabestany finds unexpected notoriety in prison while the detectives try various ploys, including a gathering of suspects à la Agatha Christie. A delightfully droll double-barreled denouement provides a perfect ending to this romp, which should earn its author consideration for the kind of award she so cleverly lampoons.' - Publishers Weekly
'A Shortcut To Paradise by Teresa Solana translated from the Catalan, sees Barcelona's entirely unlicensed private detectives Eduard and Borja hired to prove the innocence of an embittered literary writer. Assured that it was his turn to win the nation's major book prize, he's under arrest for killing the bestselling author who actually did win it - and his only defence is an absurdly unlikely alibi. In pursuit of justice, our unheroic heroes must sink into that seediest of all underworlds, the publishing industry. Very funny and very unusual. ' - Morning Star
'In Barcelona, fifty something bestselling author Marina Dolc wins the Sixth Edition of the Golden Apples Fiction Award. After gracefully receiving the misshapen fruit with a bite taken out on a Thasos base prize, Marina returns to the Ritz Hotel where she always stays. A late visitor arrives who she welcomes in her room though Marina is tired. The visitor picks up the statue and hammers her in the head with it. Her assassin leaves her dead with her prize next to her; a climax that comes from one of her novels.
The Catalan police realize the victim welcomed her killer into her room. They arrest author Amadeu Cabestany, who knew the deceased and came in second for the prize. Although they insist they are not detectives, but only consultants, the brothers Eduard Martinez and Borja Masdeu are hired to prove the prime suspect is innocent. Using the same tactics they applied to solving A Not So Perfect Crime and to their usual adultery case, the siblings bluff their way from one clue to another as they improvise the script while interviewing the pretentious ostentatious literati world.
The second bumbling Martinez-Masdeu satire lampoons the cast of characters who make up the literary world though ostensibly Barcelona, but could be London, Melbourne, Singapore, New York or Toronto as well. The amusing story line is fast-paced as the siblings trip over clues while exposing the greats and the wannabes as egomaniacs without substance. Although some of the translation loses the Spanish essence of the cast, fans will enjoy this nod to Peter Falk's Colombo while endearingly mocking the hand that feeds Teresa Solana.'
- MBR Bookwatch
'Best selling writer Marina Dolç is found murdered in the Ritz Hotel, Barcelona on the night she wins a major literary prize. The trophy has been used to batter her to death. Disgruntled runner up Amadeau Cabestany is immediately arrested. His only defence is that he was being mugged at the time. Accident prone private detectives Eduard Marinez and Borja Masdeu are called in to try and prove his innocence. The results are chaotic and unexpected as they trawl the literary underworld. Who was the mugger? Why can no one find him? What was the secret Marina Dolç took to her grave? The identity of the killer is not easy to prove - and certainly unexpected. A different story, starring private detectives who muddle along and somehow come out with the right answers. Particularly impressive is the gentle mockery of the literary world with its pretensions and views. Worth trying if you want to read something a bit different to the usual run of mysteries.' - Monsters and Critics
'The Catalan writer Teresa Solana may have invented a new variation of the traditional private eye partnership. Her heroes, Borja and Eduard, are twins who don't look at all alike, have different surnames (one of them is a fake) and are farcically inefficient at their job. In A Shortcut to Paradise, the bestselling winner of a prestigious literary prize has her head bashed in by the very trophy she has just won. The chief suspect is the bitter runner-up, a serious writer of novels that don't sell. His alibi is that at the time of the crime he was himself being mugged, miles away. The twins are hired to trace the mugger, prove the arrested suspect innocent and find the real killer. They perform the task with utmost incompetence. Solana's Barcelona is exciting, sexy and louche, the city's literary scene and the people who inhabit it portrayed with satirical gusto. Charming and great fun.' - The Times
'It's perfect tabloid fodder right from the start in this wickedly funny and scathingly brilliant Catalonian crime novel; a trashy novelist is murdered in a grizzly scene lifted straight from her very own award winning novel. Add to the mix a hold up with a toy pistol, an embittered literary failure, and some sloppy police work and you've got the wrong man arrested with an unsurprisingly reticent mugger for an alibi.Cue Borja and Eduard, two slightly dodgy and somewhat accident-prone private detectives. Diving into Barcelona's shady literary scene at the deep end, they muddle their way through the murder investigation using a method based in equal measure on flattering rich old ladies and crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.These twin brothers are an improbable detective duo but their blend of level-headedness on the one hand, and wit and improvisation on the other, serves them well in a murder hunt replete with twists, turns and ridiculously coincidental coincidences. Complications aplenty keep us entertained but it is the biting portrayal of the pretentious Catalonian literati that really holds our attention. No one is safe from Solana's sharp-tongued mockery; the entire Barcelona literary scene is shown in all its pretentious glory. Solana's prose, on the other hand, is completely lacking in affectation. It is bright, sharp and unfailingly witty, working around a cleverly structured narrative in which each character acts as a temporary protagonist.In its neat structure, mocking tone, and unpretentious prose, this sequel to A Not So Perfect Crime delivers the perfect comic punch to Catalonia's literary types.' - BookTrust
'Solana's second novel made me laugh so much the tears soon rolled. She shoots from the hip at the guardians of culture...' - El Pais
  • Zebedee Administrator
  • A Shortcut to ParadiseReviewTeresa Solana