May 16, 2022 3:29 am

What if the police found the murderer of the Alcácer girls?

It was in January 1993 when the name of Antonio Anglés was inscribed in the black history of Spain, when two beekeepers found a pit in which the Alcácer girls. Two months earlier, he and Michael Ricart They had been picked up on a highway, where they were hitchhiking. They did not take them to their destination. They were kidnapped, raped and killed. Ricart was unable to escape from the police cordon and was sentenced, but Anglés managed to escape. Nothing has been heard from him since.

. Or did he actually set foot in Ireland and make his life there? What if, suddenly, the police found Anglés? How would he have lived with the bloody crime of thirty years ago? Alcácer’s would probably only be the first of many other murders.

This is the hypothesis that Santiago Diaz (Madrid, 1971) in his new book, ‘
the other girls
‘ (Reservoir Books, 2022), the second installment in the series starring Inspector Indira Ramos. «It is not about the Alcácer case, I am not going to question it –clarifies the author–, but it is the starting point of my story: the escape of the murderer, with the version that was accepted as good, until he jumped into the sea in Dublin. From there it is a fictional story.

Tanned for two decades as a screenwriter for film and television, with more than six hundred scripts written, Díaz makes his third foray into crime fiction with this novel, a book he has been thinking about for thirty years. “I am of that generation that lived the case day by day on television,” he says. «We saw the disappearance of the girls, the arrest of the guilty, the escape and then the trial. And I always asked myself a question: if he were alive, where would Antonio Anglés be?

Santiago Díaz, author of ‘The Other Girls’

In the novel, the murderer, when he is arrested, is an educated man, who apparently has nothing to do with that street criminal in Valencia in the 90s and addicted to painkillers. Now he has a wife and children and pretends to be a Mexican. «To explain that he has been on the run for thirty years, he would have had to undergo that change. But I doubt very much that he behaved like a citizen, because what he did was inside him. When he killed the Alcácer girls, he was on the run from a prison permit. He had been convicted of kidnapping and battering a woman.”

The author of ‘The other girls’ characterizes Anglés as a psychopath: «He carries the evil gene in his blood. I doubt very much that someone like that could contain himself throughout all these years. It is difficult to disengage from that power that psychopaths feel in front of the weakest. In real life, these murderers are perfecting themselves so that the police do not catch them, to save themselves before the judges… They do not act on impulse, they do it for pleasure».

This is the context of Díaz’s novel, with one more element of fiction (or not, judicial issues): that in 2022 the Alcácer case has prescribed and Anglés is unimpeachable. So this is a crime novel raised to the contrary. «Normally in the investigations a corpse is found and the murderer is sought. Here it is the other way around: the Indira Ramos police believe that this man has not been able to behave as an exemplary citizen, that he must have killed again.

Throughout the novel, apart from the plots and subplots related to inspector Indira Ramos and the other characters in the saga, Díaz echoes the social debate that could arise. «Perhaps we would divide ourselves again between those who think that something must be done to not let it go and those who believe that, despite everything, the Penal Code must be complied with. I mention all that debate, although I do not go fully into it ».

Santiago Díaz insists that this is a work of fiction in which he has tried to flee from sensationalism: «The morbid thing would have been to describe the murders. I run away from it. Yes, I present it in Alcácer, the day he meets them and takes them away, and from there it’s the next day. But I did need to give Anglés a face and present him as the most persecuted monster in Spain, why today he continues to cause terror and surprise.

What if Antonio Anglés was still alive? What would be your reaction to the novel? «I suppose that what he would have to feel is fear, because many people today no longer put a face to it, and after the novel it is likely that they will look for it. They might recognize it. Assuming it’s closer than we think, this puts the trigger back on it. Perhaps, Anglés could be afraid that someone would recognize him».

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