Return To Madrid, the new book by Gordon L. Thomas.

It is 1685 and autumn in Madrid. Life there is bad for men but much worse for women. Recently widowed, Francisca needs a new purpose in life. With the odds heavily weighed against her, she decides to investigate the mysterious death, sixteen years before, of her bright and gifted son, while at university. Did he die of some undetected illness? Did he commit suicide? Or was he murdered?

Disguised as mother and son, Francisca and her friend Inés leave Madrid to challenge the staff at Juan’s college, twenty miles away. How can these two women solve this cold case? How will they discover what happened and who can help? What dangers are lurking? Surely, any evidence will be destroyed or lost, after so long… or will it?

This fast moving thriller shows how unyielding determination can help unravel puzzling events of the past. It demonstrates how new friendships can blossom from the smallest of buds.

Extract from the book:

‘As I stand on the bridge, ready to jump to my death in the waters below, my whole life passes before me.

Juan, my husband, now dead, sitting there, strumming his harp… that moment when we first met, while Diego portrayed me… ‘The Lady with a Fan’. Those first, precious moments together and alone in Juan’s rooms…then, as I asked to be his lady friend…our first kiss when he took me home…my reaction to his confession of making love to a puta…his reaction as I told him I’d been raped by a priest…our first, fumbling intimacies…seeing each other naked…his proposal to marry me… the wedding…the birth of Juan Junior…our pride at Juan Junior’s brilliance…our collapse when Juan Junior died…when I screamed and could not stop…my insanity and the years in the asylum…the miracle of my recovery…then Juan dying, not six months ago.

I miss them both so much that life has completely lost its meaning. I am ready to go. I start to cry. I climb up onto the parapet. I look down at the flowing waters below… goodbye friends… goodbye, life…

Download the 1st chapter of Return To Madrid (PDF)


Characters in the book

Several of the characters in Return to Madrid are based on real people who lived in the 17th Century. Here are the background details of these people and the roles they play in the book.


The main character. Her husband, the famous Spanish composer, Juan Hidalgo de Polanco, has recently died. Their son Juan junior died mysteriously sixteen years before. Francisca decides to investigate her son’s death


Francisca’s best friend. Granddaughter of Diego Velázquez, the renowned Spanish painter. Inés goes to go with Francisca to the university town not far away


Inés’s brother. Works in the king’s kitchen as a chef. Inés persuades him to help with the investigation. (Pictures of Inés and Baltasar are from a family portrait by their father, Juan Bautista del Mazo, Velázquez’s successor as court painter)

Book Details:

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  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: SellMy Books (29 Feb. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995677838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995677838
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm

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