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Gaudi Afternoon (Cassandra Reilly, #1)
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Gaudi Afternoon (Cassandra Reilly #1)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  149 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Ben Stevens has vanished without a trace. His wife thinks he's hiding out in Barcelona, and she asks Cassandra Reilly for help. On the trail of the elusive Ben, Cassandra is soon chasing people of all persuasions and motives in a madcap caper. This high-spirited comic thriller will soon be a major motion picture starring Judy Davis and Marcia Gay Harden.
Paperback, 172 pages
Published September 9th 2001 by Seal Press (first published October 1st 1990)
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Nov 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Thus far, I have enjoyed or at least appreciated all the books I've been assigned to read for my detective novel class this semester. Or at least, I did - and then Cassandra Reilly and her associated foolery stomped into my life.

In hindsight, I suppose the description on the back of the book should have tipped me off. First it informed me that this book has won "a British Crime Writers' Association Award for Best Mystery Set in Europe and a Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery." Best
Ana Rînceanu
At about the 40% mark this book turned a little sour for me. Until then I was enjoying getting to know Cassandra, the beautiful city of Barcelona and the odd, gender-bending mystery she had gotten involved with. But I became really annoyed with the never ending kidnapping theme and the book's humor just wasn't for me. I'll probably read the next book because it's set in Transilvania, but I hope the author gets better at plot progression.
Althea Ann
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the book!

I did assume that this was a new book, and requested it solely based on it being a mystery set in Barcelona. I hadn’t heard of it before, and didn’t know that there’d been a movie based on it. So I came to the book without preconceptions.

It’s very much a light, breezy mystery – nothing dire or upsetting here. If anything, I’d describe it as a comedy of gender.

Translator Cassandra R
Annette Gisby
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cassandra Reilly is a Spanish translator, working on an epic South American novel when she gets a call from her friend, Lucy, whose other friend Frankie is in a bit of a pickle.

Frankie's ex-husband Ben has absconded to Barcelona and Frankie needs to see him to sign some urgent paperwork, but she doesn't speak a word of Spanish. Cassandra is reluctant at first, but the money Frankie offers is too good to be true and it would be no hardship for Cassandra to finish the translation of the book in Sp
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having watched the Susan Seidlemans' (Desperately Seeking Susan) film adaptation for Gaudi Afternoon, I'm thrilled I finally sat down and read the book. Barbara Sjoholm's light mystery novel set in Barcelona is the first of her Cassandra Reilly Mysteries. It's breezy with an emphasis on lesbian and trans characters. Cassandra's disinterest in relationships and settling down in general have a funny way of attracting this brood of mismatched family. The suspense reads more as hijinks than anything ...more
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
I had been meaning to read this forever, but finally got it as a used copy from the library.

It's pretty good. Not perfect. It's lightish and the travelling bits in Barcelona are very nice to read. And Cassandra's fun and it's humorous.

Has a few things to say about gender and motherhood. But it's not overwhelmingly so.

So, I've found a new author and I want to rush right out and go through her Cassandra books. But I only think there are three of them. Bummer.
Quite honestly, I downloaded this because I had just read another story set in Barcelona, and was interested to see how this one described Gaudí's work. So, I had no preconceptions about what the book was about, and thus was rather confused until I realized that the narrator was a lesbian and the person she had been talked into helping find her husband in Barcelona was actually looking for an ex-wife because her client was transgendered. Once I finally got all that straight I began to understand ...more
What I liked best about it was learning more about Gaudi architecture in Barcelona. That was great.
Wayne Spiceland
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lesbian-mystery
kind of a shame, really. After all, Wilson writes really, really well. Unfortunately, the repetitiveness of the plot and the shallowness of almost all the characters undermines her narrative skills. As events repeat again and again, I began to feel as if I were reading a Tom Stoppard play. Cassandra is the only character I had an sympathy for at all. That this novel won a Lambda boggles my mind.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I chose this because it is set in Barcelona and references Antonio Gaudi's architecture which I happened to be studying. About half way through I realized that I was officially reading "lesbian literature"... not my normal genre. Regardless, it was decently written and actually pretty interesting. What would you do if your father became another mother and then left your mother for another woman?
Susan Mills
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Favorite light read, good for reading several times over a period of several years. Light and fun, full of LGBT issues, before such initials came into common use. absorbing story, good suspenseful plot, low on violence.
Cassandra Reilly, itinerant translator, goes to Barcelona to help a woman find her husband. Turns out the woman is trans, her husband is her ex-girlfriend, they have a kid, and the novel fast becomes a gender-exploring farcical quasi-mystery. Pretty fun
May 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not the worst, not the best. I was feeling homesick for Barcelona and needed a bit of light reading. The book plays around with the idea of gender identity and is a bit heavy-handed in that aspect and a bit light-weight as a mystery.
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Ahh, is there anything better than lying on the couch on a cold and rainy Sunday and getting whisked away to sunny Spain? This book is a fun riff on the detective fiction. The ending had a few too many reveals but all told this is a great escape.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I like Barbara Wilson's writing and her translator heroine Cassandra Reilly, but this particular book is so full of gender changes, characters who seems to be one thing and turn out to be another, and various twists in the plot that I found it quite hard to keep up. Not her best.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have read this before and liked it, but am reading it again - I'd forgotten how much I like everyone's shifting perceptions of each other's gender identities. I really enjoy the character of Cassandra Reilly.
Susan Beecher
Fun mystery.
See my full review of this novel in the Lesbian Mystery Reading Group.
Marty Kingsbury
I read this years ago and thought it was hilarious. It's still pretty funny.
Zodama Bug
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
does a wonderful job of meshing a good mystery with the romance and culture of Barcelona!
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed reading about the sites and landmarks in Barcelona and remembering my visit there. The story was a bit convoluted; not my favorite.
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not a great crime read, a translator gets caught up in the case of a missing child. I'm making it sound more interesting than it actually is.
May 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Pretty stupid. Starts out well. Gaudi architecture interesting, but plot line and story just becomes stupid. A waste of time
See my comments in the Lesbian Mystery Reading Group, found here: Lesbian Mysteries.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast and amusing read.
rated it it was ok
Mar 05, 2014
rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2012
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Barbara Wilson (now Barbara Sjoholm) grew up in Long Beach, California. She spent many years abroad before settling in Seattle in 1974, where she co-founded the feminist Seal Press in 1976.
More about Barbara Wilson...

Other Books in the Series

Cassandra Reilly (4 books)
  • Trouble in Transylvania (Cassandra Reilly, #2)
  • The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman (Cassandra Reilly, #3)
  • The Case of the Orphaned Bassoonists (Cassandra Reilly, #4)

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