R Wilson, A Small Death in Lisbon – spy thriller – rebinding

Robert Wilson, A Small Death in Lisbon (1999); winner of the CWA Gold Dagger. 1/12 signed limited of twelve copies rebound in leather with handmade marble sides; signed on limitation page with a new introduction approved by the author.

Genre: Historical Crime and spy thriller in the mould of Graham Greene and Eric Ambler; overlapping espionage, detection, police procedural and crimes during World War II.

Robert Wilson’s body of work combines intelligent plotting, sharp language, taut character and place descriptions, a feel for the hazards that life may throw at human relationships, as well as insights into the dark side of political events and big business plus his trademark grasp of national identities and other ways of life with Spain and Portugal featuring prominently.

A Small Death in Lisbon (1999)

The grand scale of the past rolling into the present in A Small Death is achieved with two seemingly unconnected plotlines becoming entwined. One is the German SS scheme to extract a mineral from Portuguese mines for war production; the second is the case of a modern-day murder of a schoolgirl. Both plots have memorable characters: German “fixer” and go-between Klaus Felsen and detectives Zé Coelho and Carlos Pinto his partner. The first plot unfolds over several time periods in which loyalty and trust are undermined through underhand scheming. The crimes are nasty and unforgivable, yet the ongoing cover-up – over generations – is shown to be a cruel injustice. Can countries which have rightist dictatorial regimes ever be accountable? ‘… history is not what you read in books. It’s a personal thing, and people are vengeful creatures, which is why history will never teach us anything.’ Dr Aquilino Oliveira (from the novel). The rebinding quickly sold.


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