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Reyes Calderón’s Lola MacHor Series

A Conservative Feminist Approach to Modern Spain

Jeffrey Oxford Professor of Spanish at Midwestern State University, is co-editor of Eduardo Mendoza: A New Look (2002) and Giménez Bartlett’s Influence in Hispanic Literature (Vol. 28 of Monographic Review/Revista Monográfica). He is the author of more than 40 academic essays, a dozen of which focus on detective fiction of Spain.

In spite of the fact that detective fiction has been the most popular genre utilized by Spanish authors over the last thirty or so years, the female detective has appeared in such works on relatively rare occasions. Less frequent are Spanish female authors of detective fiction who employ a female detective as their main character. One author who has broken this stereotype is Reyes Calderón, with her female juez de instrucción (examining magistrate), originally created because the author was convinced that one popular, female, main character detective that did exist was simply “a man who was wearing a skirt” (interview with author). With the creation of her Basque character who, over the series, evolves from law-school professor to member of the Spanish Supreme Court, Calderón is able to “design a normal woman who confronts abnormal situations” (interview with author). Through such, Reyes Calderón aptly portrays both how far Spanish women have come since the days/restrictions of the Franco dictatorship but yet how remnants of conservative thought still pervade their mindset. She thus uses the most popular of genres to make a myriad of cultural observations concerning her native country and the women of “her generation.”

This book focuses on the female detective in Hispanic literature; the Lola MacHor Series, where via the main character Lola, Calderón is conducting a cultural studies experiment/explanation of modern-day Spain; concomitant issues of characterization and Calderón’s debt to Naturalism; Spanish novel writing and narrative style; and the pervading conservative/feminist dichotomy as it transpires in Spanish social commentary and moralizing.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-646-2
Hardback Price: £35.00 / $50.00
Release Date: December 2014
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Lola MacHor: The Principal Character
Chapter 3. Narrative Ethos: From the 19th to the 21st Centuries
Chapter 4. Criminality: Causes, Motives and Public Perceptions
Chapter 5. Social Criticism
Chapter 6. Food as Cultural Symbol
Chapter 7. Conclusions
Chapter 8. Interview with the Author

Appendix A. Main Characters
Appendix B. Plot Summaries

Works Cited


This literary study focuses on Spanish writer Reyes Calderón’s novela negra (detective fiction) series starring Lola MacHor, a female Basque detective who reflects the advances and setbacks of women’s rights in Spain over the period of a generation. The author of this book, Jeffrey Oxford, demonstrates that writer Calderón goes beyond patriarchal, feminist, and post-feminist ideologies in the five novels of the series, and instead creates a new, non-sexist paradigm that contains the element of social justice. Oxford addresses themes such as changes in narrative ethos, public perceptions of criminality, social criticism in the Lola MacHor series, and food as a cultural symbol. The book concludes with an untranslated interview with Calderón. The book includes many quotes from the detective series and from writer Calderón, but most of them are not translated into English. Appendices provide a list of main characters and plot summaries.

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