All This I Will Give to You
Translated by Michael Meigs
Dolores Redondo’s murder mystery, “All This I will Give to You,” is intricately plotted and engrossing. The crime occurs in Galicia, Spain, where even in the 20th century, aristocratic families expect to be recognized as nobility and granted extraordinary privileges.
When Manuel Ortigosa, a well-recognized novelist, is notified his husband, Alvaro, has been killed in an automobile accident in Montforte in Lugo province, he says that is not possible because Alvaro was in Barcelona on business. The police assure Ortigosa it is indeed Alvaro, and he must travel to Lugo to have the body released for burial.
Confused, then angry, Ortigosa discovers his husband led a double life, and was heir of Muniz de Davila, from a wealthy family in Galicia and the marquis of the As Grileiras estate established in the 17th century. Ortigosa is blinded with rage, realizing he has been lied to but befuddled when he learns Alvaro has willed to him his entire fortune. Other de Davila family members are equally distraught to learn Ortigosa was married in 2015 to Alvaro, and that he is his sole heir.
Ortigosa decides he doesn’t need this hostile family or the estate, and as he prepares to return home to Madrid, he encounters a retired police officer, Nogueria, who has evidence to convince Ortigosa that Alvaro was murdered. Nogueria explains this aristocratic family will do anything, including a cover-up, to save embarrassment, and has committed past atrocities also concealed. But because Nogueria is retired, he can only guide Ortigosa in his search for the truth.
As Ortigosa delves deeper into the family’s past, he begins to think that Alvaro had murdered his own brother three years earlier. Overcome with doubt and grave emotion, Ortigosa confronts family members, and what he learns takes him deep into the Spanish culture of exorcism, Catholic child abuse, and different regional cultures. Redondo’s description of the area sparkles, especially the wine harvest in the unique vertical Ribiera Sacra vineyards.
. . . a thriller at its best.
Clues unfold, as Ortigosa meets Alvaro’s closest friend since childhood, now a priest, befriends Ortigosa’s family, and others on the estate, all who offer background information on Alvaro. Why didn’t he know all this, he asks himself. “After all, Manuel, you were busy with other things. Your travels, your books,”Alvaro’s personal business assistant tells him. It is exceedingly difficult until the very end to determine who was responsible for Alvaro’s death.
This novel has understandably garnered Spain’s top literary award, and will soon be available in English, translated by Michael Meigs. Most definitely it’s a thriller at its best.