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From the Devil's Farm
     

From the Devil's Farm

by Leta Serafim
 

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A Greek American tourist, Lydia Pappas, stumbles upon a child’s body in the ruins of an ancient temple, well hidden on the top of a cliff. The boy has been bled dry, though no blood is in evidence, leading the Greek police investigator, Yiannis Patronas, to believe the killer must have collected it. Greece’s financial crisis has reduced the police force

Overview

A Greek American tourist, Lydia Pappas, stumbles upon a child’s body in the ruins of an ancient temple, well hidden on the top of a cliff. The boy has been bled dry, though no blood is in evidence, leading the Greek police investigator, Yiannis Patronas, to believe the killer must have collected it. Greece’s financial crisis has reduced the police force on Sifnos to one officer, Petros Nikolaidis, so Patronas has been summoned from his home base of Chios to aid in the case. Accompanying him are his colleagues, Giorgos Tembelos and Evangelos Demos, as well as Papa Michalis, an ancient Orthodox priest with a vast knowledge of detective fiction and an uncanny ability to ferret out the truth. Though eccentric and often irritating, Michalis has been an asset to Patronas over the years in a land where homicide was, until recently, a rare occurrence. But Greece is changing daily, with a tide of migrants straining the country’s already diminished resources and occasionally bringing out the worst in her people.

The child appears to have been sacrificed according to the rules of a pagan religious ritual. Is someone on Sifnos reviving the old ways? Or is there a thrill killer loose on the island? Is the culprit a Greek national or one of the many foreign migrants crowding its refugee camps?

Book 3 in the Greek Islands Mystery series.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/21/2016
Set on the island of Sifnos, Serafim’s timely third Greek Islands mystery (after 2015’s When the Devil’s Idle) centers on the murder of an unidentified boy who appears to be seven or eight. Lydia Pappas, a Greek-American ceramicist, found the blood-drained, trussed body of the likely refugee suspended over a fire pit near the shrine ruins of Thanatos. The crime scene offers few clues, and the inhabitants of the island’s refugee camp, who live in tents and hovels, are mistrustful of the police and handicapped by the language barrier. Chief Officer Yiannis Patronas interviews Lydia (with whom he becomes smitten), as well as maverick American professor Richard Svenson and his three students from the U.S. Partonas also visits the refugee camp, where he meets a Syrian woman who says she’s the victim’s aunt. Serafim grounds her tale in Greek history, ancient and present, and provides a brutal and effective resolution to the case that will surprise most readers. Agent: Jeannie Loiacono, Loiacono Literary Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Set on the island of Sifnos, Serafim's timely third Greek Islands mystery (after 2015's When the Devil's Idle) centers on the murder of an unidentified boy who appears to be seven or eight. Lydia Pappas, a Greek-American ceramicist, found the blood-drained, trussed body of the likely refugee suspended over a fire pit near the shrine ruins of Thanatos. The crime scene offers few clues, and the inhabitants of the island's refugee camp, who live in tents and hovels, are mistrustful of the police and handicapped by the language barrier. Chief Officer Yiannis Patronas interviews Lydia (with whom he becomes smitten), as well as maverick American professor Richard Svenson and his three students from the U.S. Partonas also visits the refugee camp, where he meets a Syrian woman who says she's the victim's aunt. Serafim grounds her tale in Greek history, ancient and present, and provides a brutal and effective resolution to the case that will surprise most readers."
-Publishers Weekly (11/18/2016)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603812443
Publisher:
Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.
Publication date:
01/05/2017
Series:
A Greek Islands Mystery , #3
Pages:
210
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

Read an Excerpt


“So you’re both professors in Boston?”

“Yes.”

“And he’s the one who suggested you visit Thanatos, that rock where you found the body?”

“No. Richard only recommended I visit Aghios Andreas. He didn’t say anything about that other place. He’d gone to the museum earlier and said that I shouldn’t miss it. That it was an impressive facility.”

“And the summer study found this apartment for you?”

“That’s right. The kids have to stay in one of the buildings the program leases and part of our job is to supervise them while they’re here. Greece doesn’t have the same liability and safety concerns as in the states, so there are no residential advisers or rent-a-cops. It’s pretty lax actually, just us. We teach them, have a meal or two together, and make sure everybody’s back in their rooms by midnight.”

“You have any problems with them?”

Tired now, she fidgeted in her seat. “Not really. The study screens them pretty well. It’s my first summer, but the program has been around for a long time. It’s run by a consortium of Greek academics in the United States.”

Patronas had no doubt the summer study had been devised by a group of his countrymen, wanting free airfare to Greece, an expense-free summer vacation. Many schools offered such things. Even the church ran one, Ionian Village in Peloponnese. His homeland called and the diaspora answered.

“So no problems?” he asked.

“None that I am aware of.”

After asking her permission, he took her hand and gently rolled the tip of each finger back and forth on an inkpad. He pressed it onto the official fingerprinting card, one in each of the labeled boxes, first the left index finger, then the right. Her nails were blunt, cut straight across like a man’s, and her skin was abraded in places, chapped from her days working with water and clay.

“Now if you’d be so good as to open your mouth,” he said.

Lydia Pappas quickly complied and he swabbed the inside of her cheek. “Sorry I have to do this, but we need to eliminate you as a suspect. It’s just a formality, nothing to worry about.”

She gave him a bleak smile. “A clear sky has no fear of lightning.”

It was an old proverb, meaning the innocent have nothing to fear. A strand of her hair had come loose and she brushed it back. Flame-colored, it caught the light of the lantern for an instant.

“Would you be willing to go back to Thanatos with me at dawn tomorrow?” Patronas asked. “Reenact how you found the body? You might have seen something at the time, but not realized it.”

“Yes, yes, of course. I’ll do anything I can.”

“Very well then. I’ll pick you at four thirty a.m.”

She stood in the doorway when they left. Raising a tentative hand in farewell, she called out ‘good night’ and kept waving, the ink still smudged on her fingers. Patronas waved back.

Meet the Author

Leta Serafim is the author of the Greek Islands Mystery series, published by the Coffeetown Press, as well as the historical novel, To Look on Death No More. She has visited over twenty-five islands in Greece and continues to divide her time between Boston and Greece. You can find her online at letaserafim.com.

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