The title of this book, Three Musketeers, is a reference to three friends who referred to themselves as the three musketeers in times past. The title is the only similarity with the works of Dumas; instead of a swashbuckling tale of adventure and romance, Marcelo Birmajer creates a captivating tale of drama and intrigue.
The tale follows the exploits of a newspaper journalist named Mossen, who is assigned to meet and interview Elias Traum when he arrives at Buenos Aires airport. However, things don't quite go to plan, and Mossen finds himself caught up in more than he bargained for, simultaneously forming a bond of friendship with Traum and trying to discover the reason for all the fuss.
Mossen's character is very well written - he seems to be someone that readers could know or even be. As well as his professional life and misgivings, we are privy to his private life and how he has made a complete hash of things with the girl that he loves (we also discover his love for the female posterior). All in all, he makes for a likeable person.
Despite the story being seen through Mossen's eyes, it is really about Elias Traum. An Argentinian living in Israel, he returns to Argentina to say his final farewell to his two dead friends who with him comprised the three musketeers. Instead, he finds himself swept up in an issue from his past. The journey that we go on, filtered through Mossen's point of view, is intriguing and, at the end, satisfying.
Birmajer, certainly knows how to create life-like characters - you would probably like to have a drink with Traum if you knew him in real-life. The characters possess sufficient depth to expose their flaws and lead the reader to emphasise with them. Birmajer also sets a scene well with his descriptions of Buenos Aires; not a lot of description is given, but enough to create a vivid picture in the imagination.
I found reading Three Musketeers to be a pleasure and finished it in two sittings. I wouldn't go so far as to proclaim it a literary great, but it is not often that one finds a book so easy to read with a compelling story. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good read outside of the usual. This book has made me want to seek out any of this Argentinian's other works that have been translated.