There are books that become symbols of precious intelligence and, more like objects than anything else, end up decorating the shelves even when no one is reading them. Ulyssesfor his centenary. Then there are the precious items, which are also books. They adorn shelves not so much for their symbolic meaning as for their real value, a figure that is hard to measure, supported by the scales of antiquity and rarity. For the first, it is not clear whether there are those who want to kill, although they certainly will. However, for a second… If one thing is clear, it is that the killing instinct tends to be driven by more tangible causes than mere intellectual vanity.
Black book of hours (Planet) does not currently belong to any of these symbolic categories. Although his plot revolves around an instance named the same way in fiction, he was able to provoke a series of twisted crimes in different parts of the country. Eva Garcia Saenz de Urturiwho two years ago won the Planet Prize for his novel Aquitaine — and prior to that, the author of several bestsellers — now wanted to delve into one of those realities that we all know exist, although almost no one knows about them, while preparing a special tribute to literature.
Collecting, on the one hand, and bibliophilia, on the other, are two very special hobbies. Sometimes it is difficult to draw the line that separates a hobby from a disorder. That’s why the novel about the bookstore murders is so interesting, and the investigation that follows the kidnapping that claims the ransom is nothing more than an old story. book of hours.
For those who don’t know, like me, watch books are library treasures of medieval origin. Details made with care. Prayer books made with craftsmanship and commissioned by the appropriate people in the community. Are unique workshence beautiful and ancient. A few more centuries have passed, and some mystical legend hovers around them, and they could fuel scenarios Indiana Jones.
Meanwhile, one of them, the Black Book of Hours Constance of Navarre, serves as the main plot element of this story. In her krakenfamous character from earlier novels such as The silence of the white city, receives a call that will force him to find and deliver said copy if he wants to save the life of his biological mother, whom he has not heard from since he was born. Along with this, he will stumble upon the investigation of two mysterious bookstore murdersvery similar to each other, but separated by hundreds of kilometers.
During his journey, he will go through symbolic scenarios and meet very curious characters. He will visit a descendant Juan de la Cuesta, the pioneer printer of Don Quixote, the place where the most symbolic novel in Spanish found material form; will drive along the alleys of the quarter of letters, stopping at historical places such as Miguel Miranda bookstore, centenary and located right in front of the tomb of Miguel de Cervantes; You will walk along the famous hill of Moyano, crowned with a statue of Pio Baroja, a frequenter of his bookstores; and he will have to explore the Caja de las Letras of the Cervantes Institute, the place where the legacy of so many writers, filmmakers, humanists and scientists rests.
Black book of hours, therefore, it is a thriller and something more. A didactic tool to help you discover what the world of collecting is like and what bibliophiles value. It is also a tribute, a walk through the literary heritage of the country and a way to reflect on the strange quality that a book contains, capable of linking entire generations for centuries, making them read the same letters and, who knows, revolve around similar ideas.