Thu. Feb 20th, 2020

Thus were the first detectives of Spain


Do you know that there was in Spain a Sherlock Holmes and a James Bond with a license to kill, or that in 1925 a woman first directed a detective agency in Spain? The journalist and writer José Luís Ibáñez He has compiled these and more anecdotes in his new book He hears everything, he sees everything, he knows everything (Espasa).

The screenwriter also confesses to The vanguard that “I’ve been in love with detective novels since I was little. I had rheumatic fever and was bedridden until one of my aunts came up with a gift The adventures of Sherlock Holmes. From there I began to devour every novel that had to do with private detectives. ”




Ibáñez spent five years documenting a profession that had many gaps in history

However, he explains that, to his surprise, there is hardly any information about the history of this profession that so attracts novelists, readers and the film industry. “In the early 2000s I started writing a novel. I began to investigate because I wanted her to appear a detective thanks to which the reader could know firsthand how they worked in Spain before the Civil War. I wanted to get away from the American topic. I found absolutely nothing. Only the first private detective in our country, in 1909, was called Enrique Cazeneuve and he was a true genius. ”

“After much searching I ended up finding some information that allowed me to write my first story. But a while later, when I got down to work with my second novel, I met the same problem again. So I decided that I was going to start with this research and focus exclusively on it. ” And so he did, for he spent five years documenting and going to archives of all kinds and then another two to order the information and writing.

Detective Enrique Cazeneuve was a pioneer in the profession

Detective Enrique Cazeneuve was a pioneer in the profession
(Family Cazeneuve Usieto)







During this long period, he found such interesting names as Kate Warne, the world’s first detective woman. In 1856, this young woman appeared at the Pinkerton detective agency to ask for work. Pinkerton himself assumed that he wanted to work as an administrative officer, but she ran as an agent. “He gave two reasons thanks to which they ended up accepting her. One is that women create less suspicion and the second is that when men drink they release their tongues much more with a woman. ”

The businessman gave Warne a chance and soon proved that what the young woman had said was true, so he hired her. It did not take in ascending, because it ended up directing within the agency a unit for women. “In view of the success, the rest of the agencies in the world used those same two points to justify the hiring of women detectives until it became normal,” says Ibáñez.




In Spain, the detective was “curiously” one of the first liberal professions that women could access. “It is not possible for that until the Republic. The first reference I have is from 1912. I was a Frenchwoman who worked in a Barcelona agency in Madrid. Then, in 1914, detective ladies were announced normally in both Barcelona and Madrid or in other Spanish cities. And in 1925, on Boqueria Street, Carolina Bravo He runs his own detective agency. It is the first time a woman has taken charge. ”

Although during the Republic the profession was normalized, not everyone knew how to play their role. Some women even questioned him, as happened with Carmen de Brugos ‘Colombine’, a well-known journalist of the time who arrived wrote an article in which he demonstrated against detective women. “It is shocking since she herself was a liberal and worked and became known. However, he charged the women who exercised that profession. He came to qualify the work ‘anti-woman’ ”.


Carolina Bravo led a detective agency in Spain for the first time in 1925

About women detective, Ibáñez acknowledges that “I have made a first screening of information and have provided some name. However, I encourage someone, perhaps a researcher, to go deeper into the topic and provide more information. ” Of course, he does not want to forget before talking about other teachers, “of whom I have found something else,” such as Antonio Romero, a pioneer of this world and to whom Ibáñez owes the title of his book, because “it is a variation of a well-known phrase of his”. About him the writer says he was a master of the promotion. “Everything that was within his reach, from advertising and short films to letters to the director, used it.”



Another character that one cannot ignore is Ramón Fernández Luna. Qualified as the Spanish Sherlock Holmes, he had been a policeman and he already earned that nickname in the body. “It was very modern for the time since more than in the blows for someone to confess, he believed in the investigation. He went to anatomy classes and was also lucky to have a photographic memory. Twenty years after having arrested a person, he remembered him, his aliases and his sentence. It had a collection of more than 100,000 tokens of criminals and also a small museum of objects related to robberies. He was all a character. ”

Those mentioned in this article are just some of the protagonists of the detective history of our country. Among the pages of the book there are many others who, although they seem out of fiction, “are real as life itself.” The author will talk about all of them this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Pipa Club in Barcelona.







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