Boyd Tonkin

Find the lady: Tomás Nevinson, by Javier Marías, reviewed

A merciless ETA terrorist is in hiding in Spain – but which of three seemingly innocent women is she?

Javier Marías at the Torino Book Fair, 2018. [Alamy]

The plot sounds like an airport thriller – or a Netflix mini-series pitch. In a proud and staid riverside town in north-west Spain, where ‘each individual played the role assigned to him’, live three women. One is a merciless terrorist killer: Magdalena Orúe, or Maddy O’Dea, half-Spanish, half-Northern Irish, a warrior on long-term loan from the IRA to the Basque separatists of ETA, but now either retired from the armed struggle or quietly brewing fresh mayhem.

‘Don’t worry, murdering people is still considered absolutely fine.’

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