The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

The country of greed, lust, intrigue and violence

Noel Grima Tuesday, 24 September 2019, 09:52 Last update: about 25 days ago

Valletta Days by Graeme Young. Self-published at [email protected]/2017. 134pp

In the baking heat of June in Malta, the island is teeming with locals and tourists. Into that cauldron come four strangers each with a separate quest. Soon their destinies collide ... unleashing a web of greed, lust, intrigue and violence. Who will be the winners in this conflict and who will pay the price for past sins?

Thus the blurb.

The author is a retired teacher and Director of Education. A holiday in Malta in 2005 resulted in an instant love of this beautiful island and many return visits. This is his first novel which seeks to capture the mystery and intrigue of this gem in the middle of the Mediterranean.

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Thus the introduction to the book.

There is much that the author does not get right about Malta, especially the names and surnames - Mosul, Kefal (the priest), Agatha Floriana, the mayor of Valletta and an MP as well, Tony Basilli, the Mafia man, Orik, the anti-Muslim knifeman, Paulo Grecho, the police inspector, etc. etc.

But then there is much more that the author gets right - from the pub in Valletta where Oliver Reed breathed his last, to the Park Hotel, unfortunately notorious these past days, to projects and ideas to give Malta an underground mass transport system, and that area next to the Phoenicia Hotel which too has become notorious these past days.

There is also the development of the Tigne Point shopping centre, and above all the mass influx of asylum seekers and the rabid reactions of some in Malta.

Into all this walks an English rose, Michelle by name, with her young daughter, who has come back to the island trying to find out the man who had got her pregnant some years back.

All these different stories and histories merge into one thriller that takes place over the space of one week, culminating (it would, this being Malta) in a weekend festa.

Unfortunately, the book, especially the last pages, is peppered with mistakes, missing words, and similar mistakes that mar the enjoyment of this thriller.


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