George V. Reilly

Review: A Coffin for Two

A Coffin for Two
Title: A Coffin for Two
Author: Quintin Jardine
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Headline
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 310
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 16–20 August, 2009

When we were in Spain in July, we visited the Dalí museum in Figueres. The museum is Salvador Dalí‘s monument to himself; he spent his latter years building it. The guided tour was well worth the money. I came away believing that Dalí was both enormously talented and full of shit.

The next day, purely by chance, we passed a sign for Gala’s castle at Pubol while driving around in the coun­try­side. We spent half the morning looking around the castle that Dalí had bought for Gala, his wife and muse. It’s a small castle in a village that they renovated. The deal was that Gala lived there and Salvador could visit only when she invited him.

Several years ago, I had read A Coffin for Two whose climactic scene takes place in Gala’s castle. I re-read it, now that I’ve seen many of the locations of the book.

Osbert Blackstone and his girlfriend Primavera Phillips are Scottish in­ves­ti­ga­tors who are flush with cash after an earlier case. They buy themselves an apartment on the Costa Brava and settle in. To stop themselves going to seed, Oz and Prim take on a few enquiries, and are asked to au­then­ti­cate a previously undis­cov­ered Dalí painting that was dubiously acquired.

The plot relies too much on co­in­ci­dence and the denouement is ludicrous but inspired. That aside, I thought it was well-written and en­ter­tain­ing and I found Oz and Prim both likeable and believable.

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