When Nick and Julia Lambros hang the "Closed for Vacation" sign on their Delphi, Georgia, restaurant, what they've planned is a joyful trip to Tarpon Springs, Florida, for the wedding of Nick's godchild Kate to Alex Kyriakidis, the son of a wealthy hotel owner. A reunion with Greek friends and family and a week's stay at the beautiful Mediterranean-style hotel couldn't be more needed--or deserved.But from the moment Nick and Julia arrive in Florida, it seems like rest and relaxation are just not in the ...
When Nick and Julia Lambros hang the "Closed for Vacation" sign on their Delphi, Georgia, restaurant, what they've planned is a joyful trip to Tarpon Springs, Florida, for the wedding of Nick's godchild Kate to Alex Kyriakidis, the son of a wealthy hotel owner. A reunion with Greek friends and family and a week's stay at the beautiful Mediterranean-style hotel couldn't be more needed--or deserved.But from the moment Nick and Julia arrive in Florida, it seems like rest and relaxation are just not in the cards. First they witness a car swerving out of control and into the bay, forcing Nick and his cousin Spiros to rush to the sinking passengers' rescue. Then, as a series of ominous warning signs and small disasters begin to close in on the wedding party, superstitious family members insist the pending nuptials are cursed and must be canceled. Nick and Julia, responding to a desperate plea from Kate's father, once again resume the role of detectives as they try to uncover which of the young couple's family or friends will stop at nothing--not even murder--to stop Kate and Alex from exchanging vows.For Nick and Julia, it's a race to clear the innocent, expose the guilty, and hopefully save a wedding that seems destined for catastrophe. Takis and Judy Iakovou's colorful cast of characters and authentic Greek atmosphere make There Lies a Hidden Scorpion a captivating mystery that promises to keep readers spell-bound until the very last page.
Departing from the seriousness of their previous novel, Go Close Against the Enemy, which dealt with the lingering effects of racism in the South, the Iakovous' latest cozy takes a light, romantic turn in the sunny state of Florida. When Nick and Julia Lambros are invited to the wedding of some Greek friends, they decide to leave their Georgia restaurant to relax at the Tarpon Springs luxury resort owned by the father of the groom. On their first night there, however, they witness a fatal car accident that looks like murder. Adding to the ominous atmosphere, Kate and Alex, the bride and groom, have been receiving several Greek curses (a severed rooster's head among them) from an anonymous ill-wisher, prompting Alex's superstitious grandmother to plead for the wedding to be called off. Kate's father suspects an ex-business partner looking for revenge, but there are other possible culprits, and when a murder occurs inside the hotel, Nick and Julia begin to sleuth. Though the story is filled with possibility, it's marred by roughly drawn characters and a predictable ending. What sparkles, however, is the Iakovous' fascinating but unobtrusive detailing of Greek culture. Julia, an American in the midst of a Greek family celebration, feels like an outsider, especially when her Greek husband is pursued by a beautiful young compatriot. It's likely that many readers will be more interested in her feelings, and in the outcome of this romantic aside, than in the solution to the crime. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
While Takis and Judy Iakovou have owned and managed restaurants for nearly twenty years, only recently have they put this experience to work writing mysteries. The authors of two other Nick and Julia Lambros mysteries, they live in Athens, Georgia, with their two daughters and two Scottish terriers.
There Lies A Hidden Scorpion Chapter One The Greeks called him Eros. The Romans called him Cupid. Today he'd probably make the rounds of all the television talk shows, hailed by the pop culture as a modern love guru. But the Eros of ancient times was no benign, beaming angel of cherubic proportions, wings and eyelashes all aflutter. Nor was he blind. On the contrary, a spoiled and headstrong lesser god, he knew exactly what he was doing. His quiver was chocked with arrows--half of them wrought in gold and half in lead--waiting for targets who were less the objects of tender goodwill than of spiteful pranks. It was a happy coincidence indeed when both the suitor and the object of his affections were struck by golden arrows. Too often, the suitor's sweetheart took the lead bolt--sure poison to any budding love affair.According to legend, Eros sharpened his arrows on a grindstone wet with blood. And so it was for Kate and Alex, descendants of these noble Greeks. Their wedding invitation arrived two days after Thanksgiving.Mr. and Mrs. Manolis Papavasilakisrequest the honour of your presenceat the marriage of their daughterKaterina NicoletoMr. Alexandros Kyriakidison Saturday, January 8at seven o'clock in the eveningSt. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral18 North Hibiscus St.Tarpon Springs, Florida
Reception immediately followingThe Mediterraneo HotelConsulate RoomThe flavour of a reply is requestedThe first two hours of the trip to Tarpon Springs were as peaceful as could be expected with Jack, our Scottish terrier, bouncing between the front and back seats, barking at a disembodied voice that took our orders at a drive through window, and smudging the back window of the car with his wet little nose. Somewhere around Macon, I slipped him a doggie downer in the crust of an Egg Mc-Muffin. By the time we reached Valdosta, he was snoozing peacefully on the back window ledge and Nick and I had our first opportunity for rational conversation.We'd been listening to demotiki music, that is, authentic folk-dance tunes, for a hundred and fifty miles. Nick had been trying to teach me some of the more difficult Greek dances for the last three weeks. He seemed to think that if I listened to the music long enough, I'd somehow absorb its rhythms into my genes, but Irish--American is not so easily transmuted to Greek. The only thing our music had in common was the occasional soulful wail of a bagpipe--Nick's of the goatskin rather than the tartan species. I popped the tape out and snapped in Vangelis's "Chariots of Fire," holding up a hand to stave off comment."Still Greek," I said.When the invitation arrived, I never dreamed that we would be going to the wedding. But the students at Parnassus University had gone home on break, and no one else had the money to eat out after the holidays. Even the Buffaloes, our local businessmen's group, were usually too busy to continue their regular morning "meetings" at the Oracle, our café in Delphi. In their case, it wasn't a matter of money. They never spent any anyway. But they did go out of town for the holidays, or on hunting trips, or took cruises, or whatever people with an excess of time and money and a dearth of meaningful work did during the post-holiday season. So we hung a "Closed For Vacation" sign onthe front door, pulled out a map and brought our suitcases down from the attic.Our cook, Spiros, was Kate's godfather and had been asked to serve as the koumbaros--the equivalent of best man, but a position accorded considerably more stature among Greeks. When he invited his elderly neighbor, Miss Alma Rayburn, to be his date, she jumped at the opportunity, feeling that Tarpon Springs might be the closest she'd ever get to Greece. We saw them off, contentedly settled into the yawning interior of Spiros's vintage '69 Pontiac for nine hours of bobbing down the highway without the benefit of shock absorbers. It was now the next day and we were following the same route.I was looking forward to the wedding, and to a vacation together. We hadn't been able to take one in several years. It was good to be getting away from Delphi, if only for a week or so. Still, as we got closer to Tarpon Springs, my mind filled with a nagging disquiet. I knew what was causing it, I just didn't know how to broach the subject to Nick. Somewhere near the outskirts of Tampa, I took a deep breath."Nick, I need you to promise me something.""Anything, koritsi mou. Your wish is my ... whatever.""I want you to stay with me.""I wasn't planning to leave you.""No," I said. "I mean while we're in Tarpon. I want you to stay with me. Don't go off with Manolis and leave me with people I don't know."He shot me a puzzled expression. "I don't understand."Oh, how to explain this to a man who had lived away from his own country for ten years? We were going to be with Greeks--Americans, but people still very much entrenched in their ancestral culture--and I was already conscious of feeling out of place. I turned this over in my mind, trying to put my fears into words."I know you're excited about being with Manolis again.""Well, you know Manolis and Georgia.""Yes, I know them. But we're not close. And when everyone is speaking Greek, and telling jokes and laughing ... I feel kind of left out. And it's awkward, you know? When they realize I'm not following, they get embarrassed and apologetic. Then I feel like I've put a damper on everything and ... I just want you to stick with me. Somehow when you're around, it's not so bad. Do you understand?""Maybe better than you think," he answered quietly.He didn't mean it as a rebuke, and yet it felt like one. Nick hadn't spoken English very well when we met. His English was much improved but far from perfect even now. Sometimes, I knew, he had a hard time following conversations. He hadn't even been sure he was going to stay in America until I came into his life. He'd made the adjustment seem easy, but I knew it wasn't. He was separated from his family and the country and traditions he loved. He'd made sacrifices for me. A week of feeling excluded was little enough to endure for him."Never mind," I said, patting his hand. "I want you to have a good time. That's all that really matters."He reached up to stroke my cheek with the back of his hand. "Don't worry. I'll be right there with you. I promise."I gazed down at the map as we crossed onto 275, bypassed Tampa and veered onto the bridge across Tampa Bay. I pulled out Georgia Papavasilakis's carefully written directions and pointed Nick onto Highway 19, which was not unlike entering the stock-car races. Flocks of snowbirds with out-of-state and Canadian license plates clogged the highway, turning the more intense commuters into Mr. Hydes of the road. I gripped the dashboard and held on as semis and sports cars tore around us on all sides."Okay, left on Klosterman Road. There!" I said, pointing to the sign. We followed it across to Alternate 19 and hunga right, leading us straight into downtown Tarpon Springs. My heart began hammering at the wall of my chest. This wasn't exactly in anticipation of the happy event. There was one thing I hadn't told Nick. I wasn't sure that the hotel accepted dogs.I had planned to break this to him somewhere around Gainesville, but the opportunity hadn't presented itself. He hit the brakes in front of the cathedral, turned a hard right and slammed into the church parking lot."You what? You said you called them.""No, actually what I said was that I would call them. Only, I ... didn't. Look, I'm sure it will be fine. It's always easier to get forgiveness than permission. If they won't let him stay, there are bound to be kennels in Tarpon Springs. He'll be better off here than in Delphi--the weather's much warmer."In fact, at that moment, it was positively scorching inside our little Honda. Nick's temperature had gone up--way up--and he radiated steam. The muscles in his jaw rippled. "I can't believe you did this." In retrospect, it didn't seem too prudent."Nick, I just couldn't leave him--" I stopped, realizing it was an empty justification. Jack had filled a need in my life when I'd miscarried late in my pregnancy. But, I reminded myself, he was still a dog. "I'm sorry."Nick laid his forehead against the steering wheel and took several long, slow breaths. "We'll have to find a kennel. Manolis's family and mine have been friends for twenty-five years. I can't do anything that would embarrass him, Julia." We sat in silence, listening to Jack snore and snuffle in the back seat."I'm sorry," I said again, and truly I was. This was no way to begin our vacation. "I'll start calling kennels as soon as we get checked in.""No," he said, putting the car back into gear. "Let's go find a phone and call one now."