In February, Barcelona. In March, Carmona (Seville) and also L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). Getafe (Madrid), in October. What are we talking about? About some of the coordinates that detective story lovers can follow in Spain, which pays more and more attention to the black novel and creates and organises festivals that have become international benchmarks.
The top event of crime and detective lovers is the Black Week of Gijón. The meeting is a mirror to all other festivals which, more modest and with smaller budgets, try to imitate the great atmosphere felt around the city. Bars that make special kebabs for the occasion, nightclubs that open to make different presentations of books and authors, and even the participation of musicians, groups and other artists that make this meeting such a complete event.
The BCNegra gathers leading international writers for six days in Barcelona. In 2012 invitations had been sent to two heavyweights, Börge Hellström and Anders Roslund, the Swedes who have taken up from Stieg Larsson with the Millennium saga. But that is not all, because Barcelona, famous for being original, always organises events of the most interesting kind, such as those that show how investigations are made in real life with exhibitions and first person accounts from policeman, forensics and other professionals involved in the fight against crime, giving the most ‘novelesque’ and informative counterpoint.
Getafe Negro also has a touch of humour. From its web site, they offer activities in which browsers have to solve mysteries and do the most curious gymkhanas, in which the solution lies in a specific place of the city. Anything to whet one's appetite before October, to enjoy a week in which it is possible to meet the authors, buy novels and play at being detectives.
But it is not only with foreign authors that Spain has reached the peak of the black genre. “Very good black novels are written here and there is now a much smaller difference with respect to the foreign”, says Cristina Fallarás, the 2011 winner of the L’H Confidencial prize with her novel Las niñas perdidas. Many names such as Diego Ameixeiras, Jerónimo Tristante, Raúl Argemí, Javier Calvo and Carlos Sálem win prizes and give life to a genre which was masterfully opened in Spain by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán in the 1970s, when he created his detective Pepe Carvalho, whose stories have been translated into tens of languages around the world.