“A Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn is an excellent mystery. I enjoyed the plotting and the depth of the characters. However, it took me a few chapters to get into the story. I think it was just me getting used to Ms. Blackthorn’s writing style.
You’ve read the plot summary so moving on from it. There are three points of view, but I will focus on the main character, Paula.
Paula Cray Diaz is our sleuth. Although not a very good one. Paula is personable, yet doesn’t have many friends. She wears sunglasses almost always while outside as the sun’s glare bothers her eyes, which makes her seem unapproachable. Paula has a three-year-old daughter, Gloria. And it appears that since Paula has moved to the island to be with Celestino and had Gloria, her whole life has centered around her family. Her parents also moved to the island to be near her and Gloria. It felt like Paula had lost herself and was functioning just as “Gloria’s Mom” and “Celestino’s wife.” Until the day of Celestino’s disappearance.
Paula begins moving around the island looking for her husband; she truly starts to see the island as her home. I liked the way the author showed Paula’s awareness of not only the surroundings but also the realization of what her life has become and her new found need for change. Paula also finally understands her husband’s view of what is happening with regards to the tourism industry on the island. She remembers why she fell in love with Celestino. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I adored that Paula was smart and remarkably well developed. I could see her clearly in my head.
The one thing that I thought was weird about Paula was that she continually worried about speaking in Spanish, but she corrected other English people’s pronunciation in Spanish.
There are a few red herrings and incidents that our sleuth must decide if they are part of the whole or not. I loved this part; it kept the mystery going and me guessing. A few times I found myself literally on the edge of my seat. There are also a couple of murders along the way that made it even more mysterious and filled with suspense. The entire book is written in the time frame of a week which also heightens the suspense. I totally loved it.
- Shirley Mobad, she is a wonderfully eccentric character. I have known a Shirley-like-person in my life. Oh, and her over the top outfits are perfect.
- I adored the setting; I have never been to the Canary Islands. However, I feel as though I had a well thought out behind the scenes tour of Lanzarote.
- Corruption point of the story. I believe that it isn’t isolated to the Canary Islands, but the author does such a fantastic way of bringing the whole hidden side of tourism on the island to light.
- The way the author showed art and artists fitting it into the plot along with the different styles and galleries that she introduced.
- I also liked the knowledge about the original islanders and how they farmed the fields and such.
The mystery and intrigue are outstanding. Although it took me a bit to get used to Ms. Blackthorn’s writing style, once I was there the story seemed to bound off the pages and formed such a beautiful picture. The conclusion and the character growth were so perfectly executed. I recommend this book to those with a more mature love of mysteries.” – Jen, for Baroness’ Book Trove
“What a wonderful tale the author has woven on what most people view as nothing more than an idyllic holiday destination in the Canary Islands. In this well-crafted mystery, we are gradually exposed to a far-reaching Web of corruption on the island of Lanzarote. When anti-corruption activist/artist Celestino disappears on his way home to be at his daughter’s birthday party, his English wife, Paula has no inkling that her husband has been the victim of attempted murder and is holed up in the midst of a terrible storm, trying to avoid his would be killer. Over the coming days she is apparently being helped by neighbour, Shirley, an email address -pat who holds little love for Celestino, and who may have an agenda of her own. When Celestino’s friend and fellow activist Pedro is murdered Paula’s fears and worries for her missing husband intensify. Unable to report her husband’s disappearance to the police for reasons you will have to read about, Paula becomes increasingly frantic and begins to fear that Celestino has suffered a similar fate to his friend. The conclusion to this story is so cleverly written and constructed that we are key guessing right to the end, the mark of a great mystery writer. I can thoroughly recommend this book to lovers of a good mystery.” – Brian Porter, Amazon reviewer