cover image The Labyrinth of the Spirits

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, trans. from the Spanish by Lucia Graves. Harper, $35 (848p) ISBN 978-0-06-266869-1

Zafón follows 2012’s The Prisoner of Heaven with the conclusion to his Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet, a gripping and moving thriller set in Franco’s Spain that’s fully accessible to newcomers. In 1959, 29-year-old Alicia Gris, a capable, insightful operative working for the Spanish secret police in Madrid who will remind readers of Lisbeth Salander, is tapped by her superior, Leandro Montalvo, for a sensitive inquiry. Spain’s Minister of Culture, Don Mauricio Valls, who’s been the target of anonymous threats and was the subject of a failed assassination attempt, has disappeared. The authorities believe that Valls was pursuing a lead on his persecutor on his own. Leandro promises the emotionally worn-out Alicia that she can leave his employ after this last assignment. When Alicia investigates, she discovers that Valls hid an unusual and valuable children’s book in his Madrid mansion—The Labyrinth of the Spirits VII—and this in turn leads her to a Barcelona prison, where Valls was in charge during WWII. Fans of complex and literate mysteries featuring detectives with integrity working under oppressive and corrupt regimes will be well satisfied. (Sept.)