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Book Review: Who Killed Palomino Molero?

The Novel is authored by eminent Spanish author Mario Vargas Llosa who was awarded Nobel Prize of literature in 2010

The novel is about a young Air force Cadet, who is far more a musician than a fighter, and joins Air force only for the love of a girl, and was killed mysteriously

Abdul Sattar Channa

Good Literature does the function of bridge among people belonging to different civilizations.

The novel ‘Who killed Palomino Molero’ is written by eminent Spanish author ‘Mario Vargas Llosa’ who was awarded Nobel Prize of literature in 2010. The hard copy of novel was published in 1986 by framing the scenario and setting of 1950 of Peru.

The novel is about a young Air force Cadet named ‘Palomino Molero’, last surviving son of a widow ‘Dona Asunta’, who is far more a musician than a fighter, and who joins Air force only for the girl he fell into hopeless love, named as ‘Alecia’ daughter of Colonel ‘Mindreau’ and girlfriend of ‘Richard Dufu’, but later brutally tortured dead and body of Palomino Molero is found hanging on a Carob tree outside ‘Talara’, a small fishing village on the coast of Peru. The case is investigated by eminent local Sheriff Lieutenant Silva of the Guardia Civil with officer Lituma (Narrator of story).

This novel completely revolves around the investigation of case which is full of suspense and thrill; maintaining suspense it discloses the mystery of murder bit by bit. The novel shows the lustful side of Lieutenant. Lieutenant who feels unconditional love for the girl of his dreams ‘Dona Adriana’, a married overweight aged woman, owner of local restaurant. Representing the character, Officer Lituma, who is young, naïve, uneducated, softhearted and unfamiliar with the worst side of world, he takes reader with himself as the story is told from his point of view. In particular he is found shocked by brutally tortured dead body of an artist boy.

The novel starts from a city of Peru ‘Talara’ shaping the scenario of crime incident with starting lines; shepherd boy found a dead body hanging on Carob tree. The boy runs leaving his flock at a time, to the police station where he informs the Lieutenant ‘Silva’ that he must come at the place of crime to see a dead body hanging in a tree.

Lieutenant Silva with officer ‘Lituma’ reached at the place of incident where both of them are found shocked by looking at brutally tortured dead body. Even being local of that area, they both were unable recall from their memory and identify the dead body with the shepherd boy but later the taxi driver named as ‘Don Jeronimo’ who brought them at the incident place with the help of taxi recognized the dead body as musician boy who’s passion is to play guitar and sing songs at local pubs and parties belonging to ‘cholo’ race dwelling in small Peruvian town ‘Talara’.

Meanwhile investigating, lieutenant and officer encountered with colonel and ex-boyfriend of Alecia which resulted as biggest obstacles in police procedural. Lieutenant and officer encountered so many challenges as they were threatened indirectly to stop investigation and shut the case, the witness was suppressed to not tell anything, moreover both of them were accused from the dwellers of Peru as corrupt that they have taken numerous amount of money from higher authorities to cover-up the case, where local people assumed that murderers will never be behind the bars.

As officers probed the witness and by encountering hot debates with colonel they gained some information about case and when they found themselves stuck as well as case at a certain point and no lead was being founded which could help the case and investigation move further then anonymous letters were dropped in night at the door of police station containing clues.

Investigation of case brought Lieutenant Silva and officer Lituma standing in front of mirror which answered three big questions which concluded case as clear as crystal: Why Palomino Molero was killed, how he was killed and who killed him.

At the end colonel took life of his daughter (Lover of Palomino Molero) and he shot himself too. Before attempting suicide, colonel encountered with lieutenant Silva and officer Lituma where he confessed his crime and filled the remaining gap of investigation by telling whole story and clearing the doubts of lieutenant and his assistance with answers, where he claimed his daughter as patient of psychological disease “delusion” and this led her to always create such kind of situation which could result in creation of bad reputation of colonel as she considered her father colonel as murderer of her mother. Moreover Richard Dufu was taken in custody of military court for being involved in murder of Palomino Molero with colonel.


Abdul Sattar Channa is BS English Student at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Nawabshah                                           


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