June Blacker is a sensible, respectable woman – a language teacher beloved by her pupils. But she seems doomed to become an old maid. She has never had a lover because nobody wants to kiss a fat girl. And June is fat – very fat indeed.
But then she meets Ignacio, her holiday romance. Ignacio thinks she is beautiful. He wants to kiss her over and over again. And a strange thing happens to June. She starts losing weight – a lot of weight. Could Ignacio be THE MANTEQUERO?
From the Author
I first read about the mantequero in Gerald Brennan’s books.
He tells the tale of how a tall, thin and very pale aristocratic friend of his was captured by some peasants when he was walking in the mountains. They were convinced he was a mantequero because he was so pale and thin, and were about to murder him on the spot, but decided, to be on the safe side, to take him to the mayor. Luckily the mayor was not so superstitious and told them he was not a mantequero but an Englishman.
I was very intrigued by this and did some research. There isn’t a great deal written down about the supernatural being but, as with other kinds of vampire, real live people have been accused of imitating the mantequero, the most notorious being Juan Díaz de Garayo, who confessed to six murders but was probably responsible for many more. He was, however, only given the title ‘mantequero‘ because a child he attacked was so horrified by his ugly face that she thought he was the sacamantecas. A more viable candidate is Manuel Blanco Romasanta, born in 1809, who was a travelling vendor of fats used for greasing wheels. He was accused of using human fat in his products, but escaped justice and went on to murder a further nine people, inflicting horrible wounds and partially eating their corpses.
As recently as the summer of 1910, Francisco Leone, a healer, kidnapped and killed a seven year old boy with the sole purpose of extracting his blood and fat, for use in the cure of a third man suffering from tuberculosis.
But of the legend there is very little, so I felt justified in inventing my own mantequero. I hope you liked him.
Mantequero 2 will be released later this year.