Novel · 348 pages · Paperback · € 14,95 · ISBN 978-3-7386-1402-2
E-Book · € 7,99 · ISBN 978-3-7392-5717-4
Books on Demand, Norderstedt · 2015
The British biologist and author of natural
history textbooks Bob Morgan rents his cousin’s house in Catalonia. A quiet place, where he is going to finish his dissertation about the Eurasian lynx. Immediately the divorced man in his
mid-forties becomes acquainted with two women. Rosemarie, a German, is according to his taste. Unfortunately there are serious clashes between him and Archie, Rosemarie’s stepson, a boy who hits
puberty. On the other hand he is fascinated by Lucy, a Welsh woman with indefinable background, being nuts on cartomancy.
Spontaneously Bob purchases Emilia’s stately home. But the entry in the land register is obstructed by a prepossessor’s farmhand who makes demands on parts of the property. Bob is decided to go to court. Toni, ex-mayor of Cadaqués and a distant relative of Emilia, advises to do an out-of-court settlement.
Archie behaves more and more hostile towards Bob. Notwithstanding, one day the boy asks Bob for help when he wants to go fishing. Bob has to take the tiller of the cockleshell. They anchor a fair way off the coast. Bob dozes off in the noonday heat. He awakes suddenly of heavy swaying. Not from state of sea – his foot is strapped at the ship’s side, meanwhile Archie tries to overturn the boat. Summoning all his strength, Bob succeeds after a hot struggle to overwhelm the rascal.
After this sturdy encounter Bob recognises, that he is caught in the middle. Rosemarie, who is Archie’s legal guardian, uses the money, being assigned to alimentation and schooling, abusively for herself. For the bright-minded boy, she has found a boarding school, being free of charge and far away from Catalonia, which will permit her to start again enjoying life. Archie, on the contrary, yearns after another guardian. His only wish is to attend the local grammar school and to keep staying with his friends.
Bob travels to England to resolve several problems. His doctoral adviser rejects the dissertation about Lynx lynx criticising it as unscientific horseplay. The publisher gives a similar testy reply. He is afraid, publishing the thesis would compromise the sales of the successful textbooks. Bob suffers another rebuff in the Home Office. They tell him quite clearly that there would be no permission to adopt a little girl from the Third World. More delightful is a reunion with his ex-wife Jane. The schoolmistress agrees to
spend the summer holidays with Bob in the trendy Catalonia.
Back in Spain, Bob comes to know that Rosemarie has started an affair with another man. Which means for Archie a soon change to the boarding school, a Catholic institute, oppressive and unworldly, as Bob found out through his investigations. For to take one step back from the irresolvable problems, Bob rents a flat in Barcelona.
One Sunday with clear weather and a calm sea, meanwhile Archie is sleeping at his favourite place above the bay of Cape Falconera, Rosemarie’s dead body is floating in the waves. The autopsy does not show any medical cause of death. However, Rosemarie was pregnant. Everyone close to her had a reason to drown her and could not prove an alibi for the time of death. At least, the local authorities establish a swimming accident caused by faint, due to early pregnancy.
Bob doubts of Archie’s testimony. Perhaps the boy had not slept, but did see what happened without going to the rescue. But the British man is stoked for the clever and unconventional boy in the same way as for the subject of his unsuccessful dissertation, the Lynx. Since he himself was a complete orphan and forced to spend all the school time in a boarding school, he decides to spare Archie a similar destiny. He offers him to
become his son.
This novel is based on real incidents which happened in the Balearic island of Ibiza in the seventies. For several reasons the story takes place in the landscape of the Upper Ampurdan in the north of Spanish Catalonia. It means as well an homage to the hospitality of their friendly inhabitants granted during twenty five years.
© Harald V. Bergander · 2002 · 2014
Read the first chapters (available only in German)