Set against a glorious Greek background, the spellbinding new Alex Mavros mystery - Hired by a Hollywood film company to trace a missing employee in Crete, private investigator Alex Mavros is plunged into a vortex of hatred. The company is shooting a movie about the invasion of Crete by the Germans in 1941 – and their activities are stirring up old resentments among the islanders. The bitterness of the past bursts into the present when one of the film’s consultants is found dead, hanged by the neck. Suicide – or ...
Set against a glorious Greek background, the spellbinding new Alex Mavros mystery - Hired by a Hollywood film company to trace a missing employee in Crete, private investigator Alex Mavros is plunged into a vortex of hatred. The company is shooting a movie about the invasion of Crete by the Germans in 1941 – and their activities are stirring up old resentments among the islanders. The bitterness of the past bursts into the present when one of the film’s consultants is found dead, hanged by the neck. Suicide – or murder? Mavros investigates and is drawn into an ever-widening conspiracy.
Set in 2003, Johnston’s appealing fourth Alex Mavros mystery (after 2004’s The Golden Silence) takes the half-Greek, half Scottish PI to the island of Crete, to locate Maria Kondos, actress Cara Parks’s personal assistant, who’s disappeared. Parks, who’s starring in Freedom or Death, a film about the Nazi invasion and occupation of Crete, has refused to perform until Kondos is found. Mavros discovers that the filming has upset a number of people, including Rudolf Kersten, a German paratrooper who landed in Crete and later attempted to make reparations for Nazi atrocities, and David Waggoner, a British defender who now lives on the island. Mavros must deal with politics, corruption, and even the Cretan tradition of vendettas as secrets and grudges multiply. Fragments of memoirs from Kersten and Waggoner illustrate the horrors suffered by both sides during WWII. Readers will hope they won’t have to wait another eight years for Mavros’s next appearance. (May)
“With plenty of action, wisecracking characters, and a beautiful setting, this one is likely to please a wide range of mystery readers"
PI Alex Mavros (The Golden Silence) investigates a crime dating to World War II when a movie shooting on the island of Crete turns deadly. A strong sense of place with nonstop action.
Johnston, best known stateside for his violent tales of futuristic Edinburgh (Water of Death, 2001, etc.), hauls Athens investigator Alex Mavros out of mothballs and packs him off to a fraught movie project in a Cretan village where a lot more than film is being shot. According to imperious director Luke Jannet and his assistant Alice Quincy, rising star Cara Parks won't make a move without her own Greek-American assistant Maria Kondos. But Maria's apparently made a move without Cara. Surveillance tapes nobody's yet bothered to look at show her walking away from Heavenly Blue, the Chania hotel where the film crew is staying, shortly after receiving a call from the cell phone registered to Vasilios Dhrakakis, the corrupt mayor of nearby Kornaria, and vanishing. Would missing-persons specialist Alex (The Golden Silence, 2004, etc.) please leave his home and live-in lover, social worker Niki Glezou, right this minute and return with them to Chania, where they're filming the World War II epic Freedom or Death? Despite his aversion to flying, Alex agrees, and in no time at all he's surrounded by drug dealers, technical advisors who act as if the war never ended, intrigue going back two generations, hints that the father he never knew may be involved, and more. By the time Alex recovers Maria, her rescue seems only a footnote to a variety of crimes, from abduction to smuggling to murder. More earnest action/adventure than mystery despite criminal misadventures in which absolutely everyone ends up implicated, and a stirring demonstration of how "Crete really did get to people, even within hours of their arrival."
Born and brought up in Edinburgh, Paul Johnston studied ancient and modern Greek at Oxford and now divides his time between Scotland and Greece. As well as four previous Alex Mavros novels, he is the author of the award-winning Quint and Matt Wells crime series.