Who is Jaime Ramos?

Jaime Ramos is an inspector with the Porto criminal police. He's already a legend in the force. He joined as an agent in the 70s and he rose through the ranks to head the homicide department, he lives in Porto and he's a member of the local bourgeoisie. Unlike most detectives, who have problems with alcohol, drugs, previous marriages, assorted disorders, if you can call them that, in their personal, family lives, I feel Jaime Ramos is quite the opposite. On the one hand, he has no family life. He has a girlfriend who lives in the same apartment building as he does, just two stories up, so his love life basically amounts to that mock marriage with someone he doesn't share a home with. On the other hand, you could say he represents that old Porto bourgeoisie, the old petit-bourgeois of Porto.

Skeptical, pessimistic, moderately conservative, but never scandalized by anything, thus confident that everything that happens in the world is so perfectly human that it's barely worth commenting on. He's also skeptical when it comes to police work. By that I mean that he keeps secrets. He doesn't talk much about the fruits of his labour. He put together a squad over time and learned to care about them, in some cases they feel like family. Lacking a traditional family, they're his kin. So he lives in one of the most popular districts of the city, right next to Campanhã train station. He lives in a small apartment, books scattered all over the place. He reads them in the winter, because Jaime Ramos only reads in the wintertime. He never feels like reading in the summer. Apart from that, he enjoys fine food and drink, though he isn't a gourmet. Far from it. He enjoys food and he cooks. He smokes cigars. He took to smoking them when cigarrette vending machines arrived. At that point, he opted for a change of tactics, because he isn't one to mingle. Not even with cigarette vending machines.

There were two or three moments that left a permanent mark on him. One was his childhood, which he spent in a village in the Douro region. Another was the war, the Colonial War, when he was stationed in Guinea, which left him crippled for life with chronic hearing problems. This has extremely positive side effects, as it allows him to switch off at times. Not having to listen to people is a treat for him. Apart from that, throughout the books, he visits some of his favourite parts of town. There's a pub in Foz do Porto, he goes there most nights, and he makes the typical petit bourgeois trips out of Porto. He goes to Spain for cigars, he goes to Espinho for fresh fish, he travels around Minho, he's basically a local who lives in his hometown, like an island within an island.

Detective Jaime Ramos by Francisco José Viegas