The Scaffolding of Fear (Los andamiajes del miedo)

Her only mistake was wanting to have fun.


Gonzalo is an older family man. He lives in Monterrey with his wife and daughters, seemingly leading a peaceful life; but his past haunts him. Back in 1977, he wasn’t Gonzalo, but Edgar Contreras.

In January 1977, sisters Elda and Laura Millet, aged 18 and 19, were at a university party in Monterrey. Inside, a man sitting alone at a table invited them to join him, to which they agreed. He introduced himself as Edgar, and he was 30 years old. They danced and had fun for hours, and when it was time to leave, Edgar offered to drive them home. On the road, Laura fell asleep, and Edgar made advances towards Elda. Realizing he was a pervert, she screamed to scare him off. Edgar stopped the car, waking Laura with Elda’s screams. Edgar forced Laura out of the car, raped her, and shot her in the head. He then did the same to Elda, but after shooting her once, he ran out of bullets and fled. Elda, whose injury was only a graze, survived the traumatic attack.

In “The Scaffolding of Fear,” a fictionalized account of the real case of the Millet sisters is explored. The narrative traces the real crime’s story, from Contreras’s past and present psyche, through the horrific night experienced by Elda and Laura, to the reaction of Monterrey’s society, which, rather than supporting Elda after surviving, socially condemned her for accepting an invitation from a stranger.


RELEVANT INFORMATION: Pedro de Isla is a renowned Mexican writer. His fiction and non-fiction works are known for their social commentary and portrayal of Mexican society, qualities that have earned him several awards, including the National Short Story Award from the University of Monterrey and more recently, the Nuevo León Literature Award.

The real case that inspired this story shocked Mexican society in the 1970s, at a time when systemic violence had not yet taken hold in Mexican society.

Reader Reviews on Goodreads:

“A great story that brings back one of Monterrey’s earliest crimes. A writing that takes you back in time to learn about the crime that happened and was soon forgotten.”

“A well-executed example of a dark story that, taking advantage of historical events, brings to the table issues that today, more than ever, need to be reflected upon in our society.”

AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, Miniseries, Film, TV Movie.


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