The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi. Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown, 2010.
[Source: Won in blog contest]
The Messenger of Athens is the first in Zouroudi’s series featuring the enigmatic Hermes Diaktoros. The body of Irini Asimakopoulos is found at the bottom of a cliff, and the local police quickly rule it accidental as a favor to her distraught husband. The Chief of Police assumes Irini committed suicide. Enter the Greek Detective. Diaktoros is determined to find out who is responsible for Irini’s death. The weeks leading up to her death are slowly unraveled through flashbacks, while Diaktoros methodically pursues the truth.
This novel was not at all what I expected. Most detective novels follow a general formula. At the very least, the detective seems like the main character. In The Messenger of Athens, however, Irini is the main character. I felt like the detective’s appearances were relatively brief and infrequent in comparison to the story of Irini’s life. While there is a mystery to be solved, the book seems more like a story of betrayal, love, and conformity than a true detective novel. I also found the pacing of the novel a bit slow, but did feel rewarded in the end. The Messenger of Athens contains a bit of a lesson and establishes the character of Hermes Diaktoros well. I liked this book enough to pick up the second in the series as my next read.
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The Messenger of Athens