Harry Lawton

Created by Matthew Carr

It’s the summer of 1909, and Caruso-loving London private investigator HARRY LAWTON is hired by the widow of English explorer Randolph Foulkes, the victim of a terrorist bomb that blew him to bits while he was doing the tourist thing, sitting in a Barcelona cafe. It seems the dearly departed left a large financial bequest to a woman just prior to his death, and the widow wants to know who she is.

Was she her husband’s lover? His blackmailer? Or was it some other sort of payoff? She wants to know.

At the urging of his old Army commander and mentor, Harry takes the case, thinking it will turn out to be a simple cheating spouse job. And so he packs his bags and heads to Barcelona, but the trail soon leads him to the unruly Catalan capital, already seething with political unrest, where a series of bizarre murders have recently taken place, possibly by some kind of blood-drinking beast, in Black Sun Rising (2020). Unsure whether the killings have anything to do with the missing loot, Harry begins to investigate, with the aide of Esperanza Claramunt, a young anarchist whose lover was one of the victims of the “Beast of the Ramblas,” and Bernat Mata, a Catalan reporter for a progressive paper.

Before it’s all over, Harry and his crew will have to face off against the Barcelona political cops, an oddball Austrian hypnotist and some batshit crazy “scientists,” in a city being torn apart by rebellion, lawlessness and “nationalist paranoia” (aren’t all nationalists kind of paranoid?).

Fans of Philip Kerr and politically tinged historical detective fiction should keep an eye out for this one. It’s a richly complex read, fascinating and provocative, offering a historical and political perspective that was as bracing as it was entertaining.


Matthew Carr is a novelist, journalist, blogger, and lifelong Hispanophile. He’s written for various publications including the New York Times, the Observer, and the Guardian, and his nonfiction books include Fortress Europe; Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War; and The Savage Frontier. His first novel, The Devils of Cardona, and won considerable acclaim, and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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