Cayetano Brulé is the protagonist of this successful thrillers, the sexy-exotic locale for us is located at one. That Señor Brulé a sensualist is already reveals his round belly; Pancho Villa-beard and Lucky Strikes support the assessment. He was born about fifty years before the start of action in Havana (a few years before Fidel Castro’s revolution). At thirty, he moved because of love to Valparaiso, “center into the Allende Salvador triggered political turmoil”. The love affair was soon over; only “annoying memories and the echo of their imperious voice drunkard” survived. Via distance learning Cayetano gained a diploma as a private investigator, which, however, as most of its global fictional counterparts, only sparingly fill his office. Its order book is empty, while the unpaid bills pile up
Nevertheless, he gives himself only once at full capacity, as Cornelia Kratz enters his office -. 68s look, in their forties and attractive. She introduces herself as a foreign correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Buenos Aires and speaks to him in a murder, the approximately four weeks before the German aid worker Willi Balsen had fallen victim. Cayetano had read in the newspapers; Meanwhile, police have placed the predatory raid on the house in San Pedro de Atacama shelved. And now this German journalist in front of him, claiming to know that a very different crime behind Balsens death infected. The fact she had just called before his death and asked to come in the fastest way to Chile; he had “discovered something very interesting for the press”.
What to do? Cayetano can take it easy rather, and in ongoing official investigations it mixes already not the same one, it could still easily anger einhandeln with the Carabineros or the Criminal Investigation Department. But that in prospect fee is an unbeatable argument for assuming the job of a journalist.
After some research about Willi Balsen at the German Embassy in Santiago and Chilean newspaper archives flies Cayetano in the Atacama Desert. The oasis of San Pedro is now no longer a secret, but become a tourist mecca – almost all rooms are occupied. Thus Cayetano
Not have to Cornelia Kratz, who accompanied him to share a room. Hard to create just the heat and the thin mountain air at 1500m make Cayetano. The case Balsen turns out to be trickier and more complex than expected. Balsen, a trained expert in the field of hydrography, conducted on behalf of and with funding from a private German aid organization, a project for the construction of wells and irrigation channels to develop agriculture. But now the wells are threatening to dry up, making people lose their livelihoods and at worst to leave their homes. His partner must Cayetano not explain that “works in this part of the world to live while you are alive [in Germany] to work”.
The Atacama desert is indeed hostile and dust-dry but rich in natural resources. The mining company “Antares” has secured survey and water rights. Collided with their interests Balsens visions? Or have the Atacameños , the desert dwellers with their age-old belief in pachamama , the good mother earth, the Europeans attributed the responsibility to ensure that the sensitive natural cycle was destroyed after thousands of years, and taken revenge?
the area is also rich in art treasures, because here ran a significant trade route of the Incas. Time and again, just found in watercourses valuable ceramics in excavations, richly decorated with gold engravings. Had Balsen possibly traded with antiques or vertickert fakes?
Cayetano’s investigations do not come right ahead. Time, amazing connections seem to emerge, then the tracks end in a stalemate. At times, puts even jealousy as a motive in the realm of possibility, because why else Balsens sweetheart neck should disappear over his head and like Cayetano finds out later killed, three days after the murder with an overdose of sleeping pills? Mysterious finally remain Balsens records and appointment notes in his notebook. “Sierra Leone” was his last entry – what they may mean
The tricky criminal case, however, performed slowly and without bloody slaughter exciting to a solution?. The numerous plot threads are unraveled convincing, some dropped again until in the end results in a coherent, logical, consistent picture. Even the unexpected conclusion does not seem like a trick from the magic box. An important contribution to reading pleasure makes the sympathetic protagonist Cayetano Brulé that resolves the case well understood.
In the course of events, we learn a lot about the history of the country and especially the Atacameños , These indigenous desert people are a closed little people, which maintains its rites and myths.
Roberto Ampuero, born in Valparaiso in 1953, is the main career diplomat (since 2012 Chilean Ambassador to Mexico). His crime novel “El inglés de Atacama” appeared in 1996; a German-language edition, translated by Carsten Regling was published by Bloomsbury in 2012, also available in paperback in May, 2013.
In the seventeen years since the first edition, the world has turned further. The topics – Development aid, water production in the desert, overexploitation of natural resources, exploitation by profit global players , political intrigue, drug cartels, etc. – have lost none of their relevance, but gained explosiveness on the contrary; of solutions we are as far away as ever. In this respect Ampueros has not lost more engaging, very entertaining thriller with social and geopolitically critical notes its many reading charm and is still worth a recommendation.