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“The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past,” said William Faulkner. He was talking about the American South, but he could just as well have been talking about the Iberian Peninsula, which is where English author Robert Wilson set his Gold Dagger Award-winning A Small Death in Lisbon and his new The Blind Man of Seville. Both tales are complex mysteries whose solutions disprove the old pirate saw that dead men tell no tales. In The Blind Man of Seville, homicide detective Javier Falcón is assigned to a case involving a restaurateur found dead in front of his television—with his eyelids removed to make him watch something he obviously didn’t want to see. As Falcón delves into the case, his normally unflappable nature dissolves, especially when he comes to realize that the murder victim and his own late father—a painter whose fame was based on four remarkable nudes—were old friends. Then Falcón discovers his father’s journals and has to confront the fact that he, too, has secrets locked away in his mind that he simply refuses to look at. With its historical sweep (Wilson takes us from the savagery of the Spanish Civil War to the steppes of World War II-era Russia to the Tangiers of Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs) and its evocations of present-day Seville, The Blind Man of Seville has color galore, but its real subjects are the twisted ties of family and those haunted backstreets that one dare not tread—the alleyways of the human mind. Wilson is in town at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Michael Little)