The Dead Girls

Jorge Ibargüengoitia

Translated by Asa Zatz
12 July 2018
192 pages


With an introduction by award-winning novelist Colm Tóibín

Opening with a crime of passion after a years-long love affair has soured, The Dead Girls soon plunges into an investigation of something even darker: Serafina Baladro and her sister run a successful brothel business in a small town, so successful that they begin to expand. But when business starts to falter, life in the brothel turns ugly, and slowly, girls start disappearing . . .

Based on real events, the story of serial-killing brothel owners Delfina and María de Jésus González, whose crimes were uncovered in 1964, The Dead Girls is a deliciously satirical black comedy - a potent blend of sex and mayhem. Written in the laconic tones of a police report, it cleverly uncovers the hopeless pedantry of a broken justice system, and the dark world of prostitution.

Cynical madams, corrupt soldiers, cheapjack politicians, violent crimes, bodies in the back yard . . . The Dead Girls is a startlingly good book by an author of genuine, exciting originality