Released from an asylum to help with a police enquiry, the quick-witted and foul-smelling narrator delves deep into the underworld of s Barcelona to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl from a convent school. Aided only by his ageing prostitute sister and the voluptuous nymphomaniac, Mercedes, the narrator's investigations take him deeper into a mystery involving murdered sailors, suicidal daughters, a web of organised crime and a secret, underground crypt. Skip to main content. Novel El negociado del yin y el yang,
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Mendoza has more than once said that this is his favourite of all the novels he has written. It is easy to see why. It has a complicated and tortuous plot. It has an unusual hero. It was written and set in the period immediately after the death of Franco.
Mendoza explains that La verdad sobre el caso Savolta The Truth about the Savolta Case , his first novel, was written in Barcelona but published while he was working as a translator in New York. Like many writers, he wondered how to follow up his first novel. A friend suggested using one of the secondary characters from his first novel as a basis.
He returned to New York from visiting Barcelona and wrote the novel. He then sent it to Seix Barral, telling them to throw it in the bin if they did not like it.
They did like it. Our hero has been arrested and confined to an asylum. However, the priest had problems with this name at the christening and things got out of hand. We now know only that his name is hidden in the official records but, for most people, an appropriate, colourful Spanish epithet suffices. He is apparently cured of his mental health problem but, though the hospital says he should be released, the courts have refused to grant him freedom.
There he meets Inspector Flores, who had arrested him, and a mother superior. They tell him about a convent school for girls of well-to-do families. Six years ago, when the rooms were inspected in the morning one of the girls had disappeared.
This is seemingly impossible. Everything is locked up. There are high walls with barbed wire on them and two ferocious mastiffs prowling the grounds, yet there was no evidence of how she escaped.
The parents were summoned, as were the police. No-one had any idea what had happened. The next morning, when the rooms were inspected, there she was, in her bed as usual. She had no idea that she had been missing. The parents asked for the case to be dropped. Now, six years later, another girl has disappeared. Inspector Flores has called on our hero, as he has connections with the Barcelona underworld. He is told that, if he finds the girl, he will be released.
He, of course, agrees. He is taken to Barcelona, and dropped in the town with no money, nowhere to stay and still in his sweaty football clothes. He is told not to contact anyone at the school nor the previous victim. The rest of the book describes how he manages to track down the mystery. Though it is a police investigation, our hero can use techniques not open to the police breaking and entering being just one of them and, because, he never has time to wash, change clothes or even sleep, people do not suspect that he is in anyway connected to the police.
The story is quite improbable, full of twists and turns but also very funny, if you stop to analyse it rationally for one minute. Indeed, because it is told in this manner, and not meant to be realistic, it is easy to suspend disbelief and go along with the colourful plot.
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En aquella epoca me entretenia leer novelas policiacas. Acababa de leer una de Ross McDonald cuyo nombre no recuerdo, y tuve el capricho de seguir sus pasos a mi manera, mas como un homenaje que como parodia. Asi empece y acabe, casi de un tiron, en el plazo de una semana, El misterio de la cripta embrujada. Nunca mas he vuelto a escribir con tanta despreocupacion ni con tanto placer ni con tanto aprovechamiento de las horas. Eduardo Mendoza. Las enigmaticas desapariciones de ninas del colegio d elas madres Lazaristas de San Gervasio son el punto de inicio de la aventura indagatoria que tiene como protagonista a un cliente del manicomio, quien, obligado a convertirse en investigador, se vera envuelto en toda clase de percances de los que lograra salir llevando a cabo su cometido y descubriendo una intrincada farse de gente pudiente.
El misterio de la cripta embrujada
Mendoza has more than once said that this is his favourite of all the novels he has written. It is easy to see why. It has a complicated and tortuous plot. It has an unusual hero.
National Library of Australia. Search the catalogue for collection items held by the National Library of Australia. Read more Mendoza, Eduardo. El misterio de la cripta embrujada. Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card.