Four Dogs Missing by Rhys Gard, set in the wine-growing town of Mudgee in the Hunter.
Oliver Wingfield is a maverick winemaker specialising in experimental wines. His identical twin brother, Theo, comes to visit him after 15 years, but is murdered on his first night.
It’s a rattling yarn, even though I’m not particularly taken with the ending.
Now onto Even the Darkest Night by Javier Cercas, the first of the Terra Alta series, set in the province of Tarragona in south eastern Catalonia. The novel starts with the hero, Melchor Marín, a detective called to the torture-murder of Gandesa’s richest couple. The original name of the book is Terra Alta (High Country in Catalan) and the name of the region. Not sure why they renamed it.
Finished it just now…7 days later. The story hinges around the Spanish Civil War, which finished so long ago (1939) that few participants survive.
Melchor was sent to Terra Alta to protect him from Islamist cells, after he was the officer who killed 4 terrorists in Cambrils in the south of Catalonia in the aftermath of the 2017 La Rambla terrorist attack where a guy drove a van 800 metres down La Rambla killing 11 (?) people including a 7-yo Australian boy.
There’s a doco series called 800 Metres on Netflix detailing the whole incident. I only remembered the La Rambla bit, but it was planning as a bombing attack, but things went haywire and one guy decided to improvise. The members of the cell then fled to Cambrils where they committed another attack and were killed…not by Melchor of course, but a police officer, possibly belonging to Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force. There’s a bit of an indication as to why the Civil War was so bitter because there were appalling people on both sides. For example, Stalin’s help constituted him sending agents to Spain and murdering Spanish Communists because they weren’t Stalinist. But really, the Church was at the centre of it all…the Republicans wanting its influence destroyed, and Franco’s lot, the Nationalists, wanting it maintained.
It’s a good read, but I’ll get back to the Australian stuff before reading the sequel.