On Monday it was announced that Madrid native Lorenzo Silva was the winner of the 61st edition of the Spanish literary Planeta Prize for his detective novel "La marca del meridiano."
In the winning novel, Civil Guard Sgt. Ruben Bevilacqua and his inseparable companion, Cpl. Violeta Chamorro, investigate a strange crime that puts them on a case with ethical and emotional consequences.
The prestigious prize carries a cash award of $778,000.
Silva, 46, has a law degree and was a practicing attorney until 2002. He began writing in the 1980s, although he did not publish anything until years later.
The author of more than 30 books, he has explored different literary genres including the crime novel, children's literature, short stories and essays.
It was in 1998, in his fifth novel, "El lejano pais de los estanques," that Silva introduced Bevilacqua and Chamorro.
He established himself as an author in 2000, when he won the Nadal Prize for "El alquimista impaciente," in which Bevilacqua and Chamorro investigate the death at a motel of a nuclear plant employee with a dark secret life.
"El alquimista impaciente" was made into a film by director Patricia Ferreira in 2002.
Among the guests at Monday night's gala in Barcelona, home of publisher Grupo Planeta, were Spanish Culture and Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert and the president of the Catalonia region, Artur Mas.