review by Maryom
When the battered body of Irini Asimakopoulos is found at the bottom of a cliff on the Greek island of Thiminos, all her neighbours are quick to jump to the conclusion of suicide. With the right sort of (monetary) consideration the police are persuaded to write it up as an accident but then Hermes Diaktoros, a stranger to the island, arrives from Athens intent on a fuller investigation. No one knows quite who he is or who he represents - he's not police, and won't say who exactly he's investigating on behalf of beyond the enigmatic 'higher power'. The accident/suicide begins to look increasingly like murder - but if so, who is the culprit? Irini's lover Theo, her enraged husband Andreas or maybe even the corrupt head of the local police? Diaktoros sets about discovering the island's secrets, righting its wrongs
I must admit to never having heard of Anne Zouroudi before I noticed an up-coming event with her in our local Waterstones, but that encouraged me to get the library to order in this copy of the first of her 'Greek Detective' series. The Messenger of Athens is an old-fashioned whodunnit rather than a crime thriller and Hermes Diaktoros is rather like Hercule Poirot - clearing up the mystery by talking to people and uncovering all their hidden thoughts and actions. I think I've grown used to a faster-paced, full of action thriller as I found the quiet pace rather too slow.
What I did love though was the atmosphere. Almost all the events - even in flash back - take place 'out of season' when the island is bleak, windswept and often cut off from the mainland by rough seas - a place far removed from the sunny idyll seen by tourists.
Maryom's review - 3.5 stars
Publisher - Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre - Adult Crime, Whodunnit
Buy The Messenger of Athens (Mysteries of/Greek Detective 1) from Amazon