When the battered body of a young woman is discovered on a remote Greek island, the local police are quick to dismiss her death as an accident. Then a stranger arrives, uninvited, from Athens, announcing his intention to investigate further. His methods are unorthodox, and he brings his own mystery into the web of dark secrets and lies. Who has sent him, on whose authority is he acting. And how does he know of dramas played out decades ago?
©2007 Anne Zouroudi (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"This powerfully atmospheric mystery embraces Mediterranean passion, mythic meddling and patriarchal persecution. First-time novelist Anne Zouroudi proves a natural at the dark arts of writing Euro-crime." (Independent)
Once the tourists have left and summer is over on a small, desolate, Greek island life is grim and miserable. The men are rough and dour, working to make some kind of living from the land or sea. The women are used, repressed and submissive. Despite contact with the tourist trade in the summer the islanders are still bound by harsh traditional and restrictive social standards and have no tolerance for anyone wanting to change or progress. Both men and women indulge in continual criticism and malicious gossip. The narrator perfectly captures both atmosphere and characters.
An authoritative stranger arrives on the island and, despite active opposition by the locals, determines to find who is responsible for the death of a young woman. As we gradually discover this may not necessarily be any one person and through flashbacks in time we gradually see her story unfold, intertwined with those of other islanders. The stranger , who calls himself "Hermes", never explains where he comes from and never claims to be a detective. He at least adds some light relief with his thoughts and comments and he is someone we can actually like. We are left to speculate whether he may have truly been "Messenger of the Gods".
In this dreary claustrophobic environment with no prospect of any improvement or enjoyment in life I was surprised they hadn't all jumped off the cliffs. For the first two hours I nearly scrapped this book, but had to find out what happened, so kept on listening and was very glad I did.
I appreciated, rather than enjoyed, this unusual and interesting story, Its descriptive writing helps you visualise the island clearly and even begin tounderstand the sad people. You feel completely drawn close to observe the whole tragedy from outside, right through to a strangely satisfying ending.
Great detective novel on a Greek island. Become involved in the life of the small island and their culture. Exciting and with interesting character development. Zouroudi is easy to listen to and a most enjoyable audio book.
"Definitely going to be listening to next in series"
It takes a little while to adjust to the writer's style and accents of the reader - but within an hour I was completely wrapped up in this tale. Anyone who warmed to Mr Golightly's Holiday by Sally Vickers will feel they have an understanding of who the fat man may be but all is open to conjecture...The way the claustrophobic atmosphere of the island is portrayed in terms of its residents is very good and quite manacing - all rather different from the relaxed sunkissed haven seen by the tourists passing through. Sean Barrett is my absolute favourite reader - and yet I do have to agree with another reviewer who said he felt the accents used were rather offputting. SB got the fat man's voice and the rhythm of the narrative absolutely spot on as always - but some of the other characters (who seemed to range from Dorset to Australian) did seem to go a bit haywire! However do not be put off by this -just be aware - once you have overcome this it does not detract from the story or reading at all. And it is well well worth a listen.
"Strange Character accents"
Although I enjoyed this book, the character voices who were supposed to be Greeks sounded as if they had come from a mixture of the Archers and Cornwall, I realise that it may be difficult to get a Greek accent but it was very strange and spoilt it for me.
"Just who is Hermes?"
Superbly written glimpse into Greek island life with two excellent mysteries. Who killed the young wife, cleverly resolved by the second mystery Hermes, who has to be more than he seems. How does he know what he knows, and is he the agent of the fates which befall many of the of the books characters? You will want immediately to read the next book in the series to enjoy the writing, the mystery, and in the hope that you find out more about Hermes.
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