Did you know that the Andalusian Mystery Series was inspired by an actual murder?
In September 2008, a pretty, young Argentinean girl was stabbed to death by her jilted lover. It happened at nine o’clock in the morning, in broad daylight at the café where she worked. It’s right in front of Nerja’s main church on the renowned Balcon de Europa, the heart of this beautiful place. The blood stains could be seen for weeks.
She was Cecilia Olivares from Nerja’s twin town, San Juan. He was Hicham B from Morocco. They had been in a relationship for over two years. When he became violent, she ended their affair. But he wasn’t having it. He continued to stalk her, bombard her with abusive messages, accost her in the street and terrify her while he deleted his messages from her phone.
He totally ignored a restraining order and eventually the judge granted her a police escort to and from work. On the day in question, he hid in the alley behind the church waiting until her protectors had departed, then pounced, stabbing her eighteen times. She bled to death in the arms of an Irishman who was passing by.
Hicham was caught and sentenced to twenty-seven years behind bars.
All this, in Nerja where nothing ever happens.
Three years later, I was returning home from a swim on Playa El Salon when I spotted an aging friend making a rare appearance. Drew Launay was one of the area’s first foreign residents back in the 1960s. He was enjoying a vino tinto at Kronox cafe.
Drew’s claim to fame was writing Britain’s first nude play. It was performed at the Whitehall Theater in London back in the mid-1950s. Yes, we have no Pajamas was followed by over fifty books including Xenophobes, Buffers Guides and a host of Psychic Thrillers. He was the perfect companion with whom to share my idea.
A mystery set in our beloved Nerja.
Several glasses of wine later, an agreement had been reached. I think. We were both a bit vague on the detail.
The original concept was to create a story based around stalking, using Cecilia’s tragic story as the theme.
We were well on our way, when sadly, Drew passed away.
It set me back.
But I was determined to see it through. If for nothing else but his and her memories.
I dropped the stalking, focused on mystery, and expanded the geography to Andalucia. And so, the Andalusian Mystery Series was born. Elements of the first draft envisaged by Drew remain. Today, as the January 2021 launch date for Darkness in Granada, the fourth book in the series approaches, the main characters are virtually attached to me. Read more about them in my blog.
The series will continue but only after I’ve finished a book in planning for nearly two decades. Watch this space.
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Darkness in Malaga is the first book in the Andalusian Mystery Series