“A Matter of Latitude” by Isobel Blackthorn

Published December 2018 by Creativia Publishing

Reviewed for Close to the Bone Publishing

Reviewed by Allison Constantino

If you enjoy a “cozy mystery” like I do, this book fits the bill. Set on the island paradise of Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa, this is the perfect setting for a disappearance.

Paula, the main character, left Britain to follow her heart and marry Celestino, an artist and environmental activist on Lanzarote. “Like so many others, I came to the island to escape my hum-drum life and Britain’s dismal weather.”

When Celestino disappears without a trace, Paula can only guess which politician her husband confronted about his or her corrunption, or illegal environmental activities on the island.

Paula’s frantic search continues for days revealing more about herself, her husband, her friends and enemies and the island paradise she chose as her new home, than she ever imagined.

I love these quotes!

Describing how she feels after finding her husband missing, “He appears to me now as an absent presence.”

Describing Lanzarote, “This is the kind of place where it’s better to be a tourist rather than a resident, unless you were born here.”

Describing the island’s corruption, ” It isn’t so much that the developers and local councils are breaking the rules, they’re ignoring them completely,

These quotes give the reader some special insights into the dark underbelly of the island’s burgeoning tourist industry, probably more than your average tourist wants to know.

As a reader, don’t ask me how I did this, but somehow I confused the two main characters. I thought Paula was having flashbacks, until a third of the way through the book, I realized I had been reading about Celestino, not Paula!

Once I had that realization, things made a lot more sense, but I couldn’t help thinking, “I wish Paula would hurry up and put all the clues together and find Celestino.” I felt like the book could have moved much faster than it actually did.

Isobel Blackthorn, originally from London obviously loves Lanzarote where she lived briefly, renovated an old stone ruin, taught English and mingled with the locals. She learned from the locals about the corruption on the island, involving illegal property development impacting adversely on the environment. She promised herself she would do what she could to raise awareness of these illegal activities through her writing.

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