The Watcher in the Pine

( 2 )

Overview

"Spain, 1940. The remote mountain village of Potes is Carlos Tejada's first independent command. Elena Fernandez, his pregnant wife, accompanies him to his new post. They soon discover that his "promotion" is a mixed blessing. They arrive in a snowstorm and there is no one to meet the train. The officers of the small Guardia Civil post seem hostile, as do the villagers. The inhabitants of Potes are strongly Republican in their sympathies and engaged both in smuggling and guerilla activities." They face a choice between living in the jail and
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Watcher in the Pine

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Overview

"Spain, 1940. The remote mountain village of Potes is Carlos Tejada's first independent command. Elena Fernandez, his pregnant wife, accompanies him to his new post. They soon discover that his "promotion" is a mixed blessing. They arrive in a snowstorm and there is no one to meet the train. The officers of the small Guardia Civil post seem hostile, as do the villagers. The inhabitants of Potes are strongly Republican in their sympathies and engaged both in smuggling and guerilla activities." They face a choice between living in the jail and foisting themselves as boarders onto a woman whose son was executed by the Nationalist government. And Tejada discovers that the officer he is replacing was shot to death from ambush; his killer is still at large. Then he learns that a new outbreak of the Civil War, financed from abroad, may be about to take place with Potes as its epicenter. And Elena, whose Republican sympathies have become known, is involved.
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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Pawel frames the complex ethical issues she raises in the divided loyalties of her series hero, Lt. Carlos Tejada, an officer in the Guardia Civil, and his wife, Elena, whose sympathies are entirely with the Republican cause. Until the family wounds are healed, Pawel argues, the war will never end.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Both time and place-1940, just after the Spanish Civil War, in a remote village in the mountains of northern Spain-are impeccably rendered in Edgar-winner Pawel's well-researched if austere novel, her third (after 2004's Law of Return) to feature Carlos Tejada, a lieutenant in the Guardia, the police force of Fascist Spain. Tejada has left his previous post in Salamanca to take command of the Guardia in the town of Potes, whose small size belies its troubles. Guerrillas killed his predecessor, and the area has been designated a "Devastated Region" in the war's aftermath. Tejada and his young wife, Elena, who's carrying their first child, are both greeted with wary suspicion, despite Elena's Republican sympathies. The Civil War may be over, but the conflict lives on, embodied by the relationship between Tejada and Elena and their relationships with the residents of Potes. The crime that propels the mystery, which is a long time in coming, involves the theft of two crates of dynamite, a local rebel's death and a ruthless and enterprising guerrilla. But for all the book's richness of detail, the lack of narrative drive and flatness of tone may disappoint fans of more conventional mystery fare. (Feb. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A cop's transfer to a new posting in Franco's Spain comes with a full slate of new problems. Pleased to leave his position in Salamanca for a promotion to his own command in the Cantabrian village of Potes, Lt. Carlos Tejada anticipates less strife with his fellow officers and a warmer reception for his pregnant wife Elena, usually shunned as too much of a leftist (Law of Return, 2003, etc.). When they arrive at the snow-encrusted outpost, however, no one is there to meet them, and when the farmer they get to give them a lift drops them at the nearest lodging in the dead of night, the innkeeper Anselmo is mysteriously absent and his wife extremely agitated at their appearance. The next morning, when Tejada slogs his way to the station, he is informed that his predecessor, Lt. Calero, had been murdered by Red guerrillas. Determined to whip his lackluster cadre of five officers into shape and settle Elena into more amenable accommodations, Tejada is stymied by the insubordination of Sgt. Marquez, bedeviled by Maquis guerrillas out to avenge the results of 1939, and faced with innkeeper Anselmo's murder, mountain bandits and a missing cache of dynamite, and Elena's premature labor. The resolution leaves Tejada-sated by political disagreements with nationalists, loyalists, guerrillas, communists, and his wife-yearning for a discharge from the Guardia. Equal parts history lesson and crime novel, displaying both offhand cruelty and welcome depth.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569474099
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2006
  • Series: SoHo Crime Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 634,090
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.21 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Pawel is twenty-eight years old and a graduate of Columbia University. She lives in New York City and teaches Spanish and English in a Brooklyn high school. She is the author of Death of a Nationalist, Law of Return, and The Watcher in the Pine. Rebecca frequently travels to Spain.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A fabulous historical who-done-it

    In 1940, following the end of the Spanish Civil War, Guardia Police Lieutenant Carlos Tejada is assigned his first command position in the remote mountainous village of Potes. Tejada has mixed feelings about leaving his post in Salamanca, but the idea of being in charge has been an ambition of his even if the area is known by his peers as the Devastated Region from the destruction caused by the war. However, the locals including his police force of the northern Spanish village do not welcome the outsider or his pregnant wife Elena, a Republican sympathizer in spite of her husband¿s official position in the Fascist government....................... Carlos learns that his predecessor was killed by guerrillas and hopes to adjust to being an unwelcome outsider. Someone steals crates of dynamite that Carlos expects will be used by insurgents unwilling to accept defeat. Not long afterward a rebel is murdered. As Carlos investigates with no one cooperating inside the police, the village or his household, all signs point to a clever merciless guerrilla funded from outside Spain willing to kill to further his ambition of reigniting the war starting in Potes.................. The police procedural elements are intriguing as the audience sees the efforts of an honest cop struggling to do his job in a dictatorial government. The story line showcases a bleak life for those who survived the civil war and how much no one trusts the opposition. This puts in perspective modern places like Sri Lanka. Though the mystery arrives late in the tale and, THE WATCHER IN THE PINE is a fabulous historical who-done-it.......................... Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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