The Messenger of Athens (Seven Deadly Sins Mystery Series #1)

The Messenger of Athens (Seven Deadly Sins Mystery Series #1)

3.9 17
by Anne Zouroudi
     
 

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Idyllic but remote, the Greek island of Thiminos seems untouched and untroubled by the modern world. So when the battered body of a young woman is discovered at the foot of a cliff, the local police - governed more by archaic rules of honor than by the law - are quick to close the case, dismissing her death as an accident.

Then a stranger arrives, uninvited, from

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Overview

Idyllic but remote, the Greek island of Thiminos seems untouched and untroubled by the modern world. So when the battered body of a young woman is discovered at the foot of a cliff, the local police - governed more by archaic rules of honor than by the law - are quick to close the case, dismissing her death as an accident.

Then a stranger arrives, uninvited, from Athens, announcing his intention to investigate further into the crime he believes has been committed. Refusing to accept the woman's death as an accident or suicide, Hermes Diaktoros sets out to uncover the truths that skulk beneath this small community's exterior.

Hermes's methods of investigation are unorthodox, and his message to the islanders is plain - tell the truth or face the consequences. Before long, he's uncovering a tale of passion, corruption and murder that entangles many of the island's residents. But Hermes brings his own mystery into the web of dark secrets and lies - and as he travels the rugged island landscape to investigate, questions and suspicions arise amongst the locals. Who has sent him to Thiminos, and on whose authority is he acting? And how does he know of dramas played out decades ago?

Rich in images of Greece's beautiful islands and evoking a life unknown to most outsiders, this wonderful novel leads the reader into a world where the myths of the past are not forgotten and forbidden passion still has dangerous consequences.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of Zouroudi's intriguing first in a series based on the seven deadly sins, self-styled investigator Hermes Diaktoros (aka "the fat man") arrives from Athens on the island of Thiminos to look into the death of Irini Asimakopoulos, a young woman whose body was found at the foot of a high cliff. Irini's sad story unfolds slowly as Hermes, who can ask questions gently or demand answers gruffly, talks to a number of people involved, including Irini's husband, Andreas; her putative lover, Theo Hatzistratis; Theo's wife, Elpida; and the island's police chief, Panayiotis Zafiridis, who officially deemed her death an accident but privately believes it was suicide. The secrets the locals keep or share can't be hidden from Hermes, who weighs the evidence and, in the end, rewards or punishes in ways that have little to do with written laws. Zouroudi writes well, but this leisurely tale is more likely to appeal to armchair travelers interested in Greece than mystery buffs. (July)
The Guardian
"Hermes Diaktoros is a delight. Half Poirot, half deus ex machina, but far more earth-bound than his first name suggests, the portly detective has an other-worldly, Marlowesque incorruptibility as he waddles through the mean olive groves. There is also a cracking plot, colourful local characters and descriptions of the hot, dry countryside so strong that you can almost see the heat haze and hear the cicadas - the perfect read to curl up with as the nights draw in."
Literary Review
"Absorbing and beautifully written...reveals the savage, superstitious reality behind the pretty facade that is all that most of us know of any Greek island."
Independent
"This powerfully atmospheric mystery embraces Mediterranean passion, mythic meddling and patriarchal persecution."
Alexander McCall Smith
"Anne Zouroudi writes beautifully - her books have all the sparkle and light of the island landscapes in which she sets them."
Kirkus Reviews
A fat detective arrives from Athens-or maybe somewhere loftier-to investigate the death of a restless wife within a small, sad Greek island community. If Poirot has his trademark mustache, Hermes Diaktoros's calling card is his footwear, a pair of flawlessly maintained white sneakers which might be a modern version of the trusty winged sandals worn by that other Hermes, messenger of the Gods. The unusual mystery certainly suggests there's more to the investigator than meets the eye as he arrives on the island of Thiminos in search of the truth about Irini Asimakopoulos's death. The sleazy local police chief claims it was suicide, but Irini's passion for Theo Hatzistratis had upset many people, including her heartbroken husband Andreas the Fish. In an unspoiled landscape, among a traditional community with protective, tribal instincts, Hermes encounters the innocent and the unscrupulous, the lecherous and the likable. Alongside the pursuit of his inquiries he dispenses advice, remedies and uncanny wisdom while a sequence of lengthy flashbacks supplies the emotional hinterland to Irini's story of disappointed dreams. Not only does the fat man solve the riddle of her death but he leaves Thiminos a cleaner, fairer, more honest place than he found it. Quirky crime gains an appealing new detective in this soulful, affectionate series debut.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316075428
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
07/19/2010
Series:
Seven Deadly Sins Mystery Series, #1
Pages:
324
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Anne Zouroudi was born in England and has lived in the Greek islands. Her attachment to Greece remains strong, the country is the inspiration for much of her writing. She now lives in northern England.

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