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A Small Death in Lisbon Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (29 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753109859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753109854
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 16.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,063,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Wilson was born in 1957. A graduate of Oxford University, he has worked in shipping and advertising in London and trading in West Africa. He is married and divides his time between England, Spain and Portugal.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In such distinctively written novels as A Darkening Stain and Blood is Dirt, Robert Wilson established a solid claim to be the heir apparent of such major writers as Graham Greene in fusing thriller elements with brilliantly written novels of character. His speciality was the luminous creation of atmosphere in his exotic locales, and his 1999 Golden Dagger winner, A Small Death in Lisbon represents the most cogent example yet of this rare ability.

Europe, 1941: Lisbon is one of the world's tensest cities, and as the Nazis and Allies jostle for power, Iberia becomes a fulcrum for the menace that is about to engulf Europe. Klaus Felsen, torn from his Berlin factory to become a reluctant member of the SS, finds himself drawn into a savage battle for a vital element in Hitler's Blitzkrieg. There he meets a man who will set in motion a sinister conspiracy that will last to the end of the century.

Lisbon, 1998: Inspector Zé Coelho is struggling against the closed ranks of his colleagues in the investigation of the brutal murder of a young girl. Her disturbing sexual past is the focus for his colleagues' attention, but as Coelho begins to unearth some remarkable secrets behind her death, he encounters a plot that stretches beyond the 1974 Portuguese revolution--back to the atrocities of the fascist regime. Soon he is facing a terrifying opponent in his battle to uncover the horrors of the past.

The protagonist as an outsider in a hostile community may not be a new literary device, but rarely is it so adroitly handled. Coelho is a fully rounded character, vividly realised and handled with an unflinching honesty. The complexity of the narrative stays clear and compelling because of Wilson's ability to sharply rein various plot lines, while slowly allowing them to unfold. Although more ambitious and epic in its scope than his previous books, A Small Death in Lisbon retains all the author's customary and mesmerising imagery:

It was at about that time that a girl started to make her dent in the sand no more than the few hundred metres away from where I was sleeping. Her eyes wide open, she moonbathed to a night full of stars, her blood slack, her skin cold and hard as fresh tuna.
-- Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for Robert Wilson:

‘Excellent… gripping and grim. A vivid and steamy stumble on the wild side’
Val McDermid

‘A densely plotted thriller, prickling with excitement… fiercely imagined and not a little frightening’
Literary Review

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Oct 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was riveted almost to the end of this book by the complex story of greed, betrayal and brutality set against a beautifully evoked backcloth of Salazar's Portugal in the second world war. However, the complementary part of the plot, which is set in present day Lisbon and which links up with this past, was never so compelling, and I had lost interest by the end as contrivance and coincidence multiplied. Neither were the 1990s characters as brilliantly drawn as their wartime counterparts. My feeling was that Wilson had overstretched himself by working in the contemporary angle and that the book would have been more successful without this. All the same I would recommend this novel both for the vivid descriptions of the horrific - reminiscent of Michael Dibdin at his best - and for the sure grasp of history coupled with a deep understanding of the beautiful but seedy city of Lisbon.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Aug 2000
Format: Paperback
The title of this book attracted me because I am familiar with the city of Lisbon and its immediate environs. I was impressed by the style of writing of Robert Wilson, an author of whom I had no previous knowledge. I found the plot, and counter plots, enthralling and the book's subjects made compelling reading. As with all truly excellent crime writers Wilson has the art of suggesting things to the reader which makes them think they have the "answers", Just when I thought I was in this position everything changed and I had to rethink my reasoning.
An excellent novel which I greatly enjoyed and from which I learnt a number of historical details.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Banjanx on 17 May 2006
Format: Paperback
Good book.
The movement between wartime Germany/Portugal, and modernish-day Lisbon is really quite ambitious, and just about works well. The plots intertwine entertainingly, and while you feel the denouement has happened a bit early and you've "got it", there's always one more twist you didn't quite have under control.
Perhaps by the end, the scarey character wasn't quite scarey enough, and I have to admit that I find some of the violence, and fascination with bodily functions just a tad...unnecessary - but I'm probably just a woos.
Good book.
Would want to try one more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Persaud on 15 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
Somewhere in this book there was a compelling story struggling to get out. Based partially on the little known history of Portugal's supposedly neutral role during World War 2, the factual elements are far more interesting than the story itself. The infamous Portuguese dictator Salazar's was a Nazi sympathiser, and at the beginning of the war supplied the German war effort. This fact sets the scene for the story, which involves a German secret agent setting up a smuggling operation - that involved the shipping of Wolfram to Germany for the manufacture of armaments. The story then moves forward to the future where a Lisbon police inspector is investigating the death of a teenage girl. Essentially the plot relies heavily on contrivances and coincidences to link the two stories together to create an unconvincing anti-climax.

Some of the sexual content is sadistic and an uncomfortable read at times given the age of the murdered girl. There are very few writers who can describe the act of sex without it coming across as tacky, tawdry and voyeuristic, less is always more in this case. Wilson has obviously researched Lisbon in great detail, but do we really need to know the characters are sitting on white plastic chairs? There is far too much description of the city and at times reads like a travelogue. Maybe research should have included reading Saramago and Pessoa who have written about Lisbon in sparing prose that evoke the great city far better than a paragraph of Wilson's writing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sandybee on 4 Sep 2005
Format: Paperback
This novel is compelling and exciting, a racy blend of a narrative of wartime Nazi intrigue and exploitation interweaved with a modern day crime investigation. Mostly set in Portugal it brings to life the ambiance of the country and nicely juxtaposes the shadow of Salazar-era politics on middle aged Portuguese and still undiscovered Nazi secrets. The main character, the investigating officer, is perceptive, insightful and honest with himself and others, both in his professional and private lives.
Well written and addictive. Top book.
Clive
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gareth_nicholson@hotmail.com on 10 April 2000
Format: Hardcover
A Small Death is a much more ambitious novel than Robert Wilson's African quartet but it is nevertheless characterised by the same shaply drawn characters and unerring interest in the darker side of human nature. Personally I found the device deployed in this book of switching from past to present rather irritating and the knitting togther at the end not entirely seamless. However, the writing is beautiful, the plot compelling and one can almost taste and smell both war-torn Berlin and modern day Lisbon. Wilson also demonstrates yet again that he is one of the few writers out there who can write about sex, sexily. This book is very good but one feels that Wilson is a writer honing his art and that the best may yet be to come.
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