Sunday, November 9, 2014
An alibi for Señor Banegas, by Magnus Montelius
Funny story: when I heard about this book I went to a big ebook store to buy it. The store was convinced I wanted to buy a different book with shades in the title. Something about the color grey. Eventually we worked that out.
The Swedes and I seem to have a disagreement about what constitutes a good ending. Several times I would be enjoying a story, thinking, this could be the best of the week, and then it would end and I would think, don't call us, we'll call you.
That's not a problem with the story my Mr. Montelius. It is also the lightest story I have come across so far in this intentionally dark collection. That may have helped it in my evaluation.
Adam works for a company that wants a contract from the Honduran government, and so he is playing host to an official, Señor Banegas, who is visiting Stockholm in December. The problem is, Banegas has fallen in love and wants to spend the week with his sweetheart, not his wife. To arrange that, he has created an elaborate schedule, supposedly Adam's work, that fills all of his daylight hours.
But here's the catch. Banegas' wife is so suspicious - God knows why! - that she might well check up on him. So he wants Adam to tell his wife the same story, and stay away from home for most of Christmas week.
An outrageous demand, but there is a twist - Adam is delighted to cooperate because his loathsome inlaws are visiting. He can slip away, claiming he is visitng Banegas, and spend the day in a museum or coffee shop, far from the annoying relatives.
What could possibly go wrong?
The fact that the story begins with Adam talking to a defense attorney gives you a hint...