by Bruce TierneyMarch, 2006
Who's got the will?
<b>Who's got the will?</b>I had not read any of Rebecca Pawel's earlier work, so I approached her latest, <b>The Summer Snow</b>, with no preconceived notions except one: that the book was set in present-day Spain. Then a dozen pages or so into the book, mention was made of a recent historical event, one that I clearly recalled having learned about in my 10th-grade world history class (which, let it be said, was not so recent). Hmmm! It turns out that <b>The Summer Snow</b> takes place in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Paranoia, particularly with regard to the Red Menace of communism, runs rampant through the Spanish aristocracy, nowhere more strongly than in Granada. Cantankerous elderly heiress Dona Rosalia de Ordonez finds reason to call the police weekly, making rather a nuisance of herself, complaining that she is the victim of some communist plot or another, convinced that she is about to be murdered. The police listen dutifully, but take her stories with a grain of salt . . . that is, until she turns up dead. The plot thickens when it is discovered that her will has disappeared; she had changed it recently (and dramatically), and clearly there is ample motive for any one of several people to have dispatched the old harpy. <b>The Summer Snow</b> is Pawel's fourth novel featuring Guardia lieutenant Carlos Tejada Alonso y Le—n. Her first, Death of a Nationalist, won the coveted Edgar Award for best debut mystery novel in 2004.