Station Wagon in Spain by Frances Parkinson Keyes (1959)

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Station Wagon in Spain
by Frances Parkinson Keyes
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy
Copyright: 1959
Book Club Edition

Station Wagon in Spain is the gay, romantic and thrilling story of a serious young man, unreceptive to feminine wiles and hampered by slender means, who is suddenly and surprisingly transformed into a daring rover, an amateur detective and an impetuous suitor.

Allan Lambert, the overworked and underpaid teacher of Spanish at a small New England college, has never had either the time or the money to enjoy life and he faces a sabbatical year without purpose or enthusiasm. He really does not know how to have fun. Then, almost simultaneously, he inherits an enormous fortune from a miserly old uncle and receives a mysterious communication from a person, unidentified except as a "Spanish prisoner," who writes that he can be addressed by a number at a post office box in Madrid, tells a piteous story and offers rich rewards for rescue. Allan realizes that the tale of woe is spurious and suspects that the riches, if they actually exist, must be the result of ill-gotten gains, which he neither wants nor needs. But for the first time in his life he is free to seek high adventure and he decides to trace the swindle to its source. He buys a bright red station wagon, bids a cheerful goodbye to the grasping girl who has marked him as her prey and embarks for Spain.

Allan's thrilling experience begin almost as soon as his voyage and, by the time he reaches La Coruna, his port of debarkation they are approaching fever pitch. From there on, the plot unfolds, against the brilliant background of present day Spain, with an extraordinary cast of assorted characters. Among these are a beautiful but unscrupulous American adventuress and her blackguard of a husband; a portly and personable chief of police; a remarkable Abbess, who, despite her cloistered life, is wise in the ways of crooks; a wizened old bookseller who is the friend of a great nobleman; a young American diplomat who finds it hard to conform to rigid protocol; and a lovely but troubled young girl, clerking at the newsstand of a luxury hotel, whose name, Milagrita -- Little Miracle -- helps Allan to believe that miracles do happen and that "journeys end in lovers' meetings."

One surprising event follows another and suspense continues to mount until all the mysteries of the Spanish prisoner letter are resolved. Then Allan, no longer a suppressed and lonely figure, but a conquering hero and a triumphant bridegroom, starts off on his honeymoon in the station wagon which has served him so well throughout his hectic and hazardous journeying.

Mrs. Keyes has been many times to Spain, remaining there for months on end, keeping house in a Castilian palacete and journeying the length and breadth of the land in her own station wagon. She speaks Spanish fluently, has hosts of Spanish friends in every walk of life, and clearly loves them and their country. Her previous writings, based on her Spanish experiences, include many travel articles and poetry published in national magazines, a collection of biographical sketches and two novels which were among the first to raise her to the rank of a bestseller. Now she has written a lighthearted mystery story with a Spanish setting.

Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover is darkened by age. Dust cover spine is ripped and torn. Previous owner's name is blacked out on the front endpaper with the date of purchase. There's an envelope pasted to the front endpaper as a way for the previous owner to keep track of her borrowed books.


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