Gibraltarian lawyer Spike Sanguinetti needs a holiday. After several traumatic years of cases that have taken him from locations such as North Africa, Malta, Italy and back to Gibraltar he is finally persuaded to take some much needed time off. Travelling to the beautiful north-east coast of Corfu with his seventy-six year old father Rufus to stay in his friend’s villa seemed like the perfect way to unwind. But the fates have other ideas as Spike soon finds himself embroiled in a new case when the body of a young Albanian is found and a local man is accused of his murder.
His legal partner Peter Galliano, whose villa Spike and his father are staying at, describes the north-east coast of Corfu as ‘Kensington-on-Sea’. It is an area where many wealthy English people have holiday homes and Galliano’s house is adjacent to the estate of the powerful Hoffmann family. Lying in the shadow of Mount Pantokrator, ‘the Almighty Mountain’, north-east Corfu confusingly faces not the Greek mainland but Albania. Spike soon stumbles upon darker links between the idyllic Corfiot location where he is staying and the Albanian crime underworld located just a few short miles away across the Straits of Corfu.
This is the fourth in the Spike Sanguinetti series by author Thomas Mogford and once again he does an excellent job of weaving a captivating story comprised of fascinating historical and legendary elements contrasted with harsh modern issues such as organised crime, violence and drug dealing in a troubled contemporary Europe. Homer’s mythical island of King Alcinous, upon whose shore the weary hero Odysseus was cast after a storm sent by Poseidon in The Odyssey, makes a magical setting for Mogford’s story. The dramatic contrast between the luxury and privilege to be found in north-east Corfu and the poverty of Albania and parts of Greek society is used here to convincing and often shocking effect.
Atmospheric, detailed and well researched, Sleeping Dogs proves to be another worthy addition to an already impressive and engrossing series set on the sun-drenched yet grimey shores of the Mediterranean.
Bloomsbury, £12.99, 9781408846612