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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Efcharistó Ms Zoudroudi and the Fat Man!
I got this book having never heard of Anne Zouroudi and the Mysteries of the Greek Detective. I was apprehensive about dipping into a series without having read the preceding books but thought I would give it a go as the blurb interested me...
Wow! I found I could not put this book down - the first in a long time that has gripped me in such a way. I found my worries...
Published on 28 July 2010 by pacem et amorem

versus
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite enough mystery in this mystery...
Being an avid reader of detective and mystery novels of all kinds, I was excited to be introduced to Anne Zouroudi and her enigmatic creation Hermes Diaktoros.

I'm teetering somewhere around the "almost disappointed" mark.

I'll start with the positives. The Lady of Sorrows is set on a small Greek island in late summer, and the author paints this...
Published on 28 Aug. 2010 by H. Playford


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Efcharistó Ms Zoudroudi and the Fat Man!, 28 July 2010
By 
pacem et amorem (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I got this book having never heard of Anne Zouroudi and the Mysteries of the Greek Detective. I was apprehensive about dipping into a series without having read the preceding books but thought I would give it a go as the blurb interested me...
Wow! I found I could not put this book down - the first in a long time that has gripped me in such a way. I found my worries about not having read any of the other stories were unfounded. Ms Zouroudi is very good at making the reader feel comfortable and piquing their interest. I was hooked from the first page - and that doesn't often happen.
The story is centred on a mystery and I do not obviously want to spoil it for you so I will be very careful not to give anything away. Perhaps I should, therefore, focus on the Fat Man (as he is called in the story) aka Hermes Diaktoros. This 'messenger' and seeker of 'justice' is perfectly created, his character traits and nuances perfectly drawn. In this story we find him on holiday on a beautiful little island where the Lady of Sorrows, a famous icon, is on display in the local Church.
The story, however, began many, many years before Hermes set foot on the island and we are treated to a glimpse of the beginning of the tale in the prologue set in 1863. It is this beginning that had me hooked and which leads the reader on a trail as winding as the little streets of the island that Hermes will tread, hunting for the truth, seeking out answers to long buried or unacknowledged questions. Along his way, he becomes acquainted with many disparate characters and as he peels away the layers of desperate dreams and prayers, of deceit and mistrust and of many secrets and the lies that they breed, we discover several crimes and injustices perpetrated and that all are significant threads in the fabric of the tale.
Congratulations Ms Zouroudi for a perfectly woven story. I can't wait to read more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An evocative, humane and oddly mystical traditional detective story, 9 Jan. 2011
By 
Nicholas Sales (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This book is a charming, evocative and compelling read. It also has, by the standards of the detective genre's more self-conscious authors, a relatively uncomplicated plot. This is not a criticism - in fact the book's attraction is enhanced by it. Compared to the labyrinthine plotting of Raymond Chandler, for example, The Lady of Sorrows is transparently easy to follow.

Its simplicity of plot reinforces its evocativeness of simple, unhurried small Greek island life on "Kalkos". The experience of living on a small island in the timeless blue Mediterranean is transmitted through Anne Zouroudi's writing, which style and cadence match the tempo of imagined existence on Kalkos.

But back to the plot; relatively uncomplicated as noted, and also deeply human. The crimes in this story - which I will let you discover for yourself - are the crimes of normal, real, people, not the crimes of the imagined beautiful and rich middle or upper classes that fill so many thrillers. This makes them all the more believable and the reader's emotional involvement is deeper for the lack of need to suspend disbelief.

Zouroudi's characterisations are interesting - many of the characters are coincidental and flat, much as they are in everyday life. But while the key players' characters initially seem sketchy, it gradually became clear that the author has a delicate but exact touch, which develops considerable depth to her characters by implication and action rather than direct description.

Zouroudi's main protagonist Hermes Diaktoros, the "fat man", is initially mysterious, but clearly wealthy and benevolent. By the end of the book, I was left with the distinct notion that he appears mystical intentionally. I would go so far as to say that this book - out of the context of the other 3 in the series so far, which I haven't read - is on the far outskirts of the "magical realism" genre. This is an interesting and rather fun direction to take with a mystery story.

Overall, the book is not a to-be-read-again-and-again classic, mainly because of its simplicity. It is however, very well written, wonderfully evocative, and amiably approachable, while occupying a unique corner of the genre.

This writer is going on my "ones to watch" list for the future, and I'm giving the book a solid 4 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 11 July 2010
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this book very much. It is a well-written, leisurely-paced mystery set on a small Greek island. There is a lot of description of local culture, atmosphere and characters and not a great deal of plot, but that was fine by me. My copy carried an endorsement from Alexander McCall Smith, and I can see why he would like it. Although very different from Smith's books in many ways, its pacing and morality put me in mind of Mma Ramotswe more than once.

The central character is an enigmatic detective who, like Mma Ramotswe, is interested in goodness, justice and the restoration of wrongs rather than the Law and the police. It is never made clear whom he works for, but he is an engaging character whose insight, powers of investigation and self-certainty in the dispensing of justice verge on the Olympian - perhaps hinting that his connection to the Messenger of the Gods extends further than just his name. He may not have wings on the heels of his shoes, for example, but he is inordinately careful about ensuring that they are immaculate at all times - but this never intrudes and is just an interesting background notion. I liked him a lot.

The plot revolves around an ancient, miraculous icon and some dark goings on among the inhabitants of the island where it is displayed in the church. I strongly recommend that you don't read the publisher's blurb on this page or on the back of the book - in a couple of sentences it gives away the entire plot of the first half of the book. This actually emerges with a pleasing slowness from the local atmosphere, which Zouroudi creates with great warmth and skill, painting the local characters with sympathy but an unsparing honesty, too.

This is an ideal summer read. It's not great literature, but it is well-written, charming, engaging and sun-soaked. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more Greek magic, 19 Jan. 2011
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Ms. Riane Revah "book croc" (london uk) - See all my reviews
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Yet another excellent read from Zouroudi. Once again set on a Greek island populated by a host of colourful characters, this story centres on the hopes and dreams pinned on an old icon which washed up years ago, and is now a major tourist attraction in the local church. The icon is supposed to have magical powers; although how much of the 'magic' is real, and how much is wishful thinking, we are left to contemplate as the story develops to its moving climax. Zouroudi is brilliant at conveying the constraints and prohibitions of traditional village life, and the pain and suffering inflicted on people too poor and ignorant to escape. Her detective is a triumph: in his dapper suit, with his fondness for pastries and strong coffee, and his little eccentricities, he observes the people around him with a tolerant, compassionate and affectionate eye; and as he moves about them, restoring and redistributing, justice is meted out to all and sundry.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Greek treat., 28 July 2010
Anyone who has a soft spot for the pleasures Greece offers will love this book. Although the plot feels somewhat contrived,even incidental, who cares? The descriptions of Diaktoros and the other characters are strong and conjure up memories of Greek types we have met ourselves. Smells of Greek coffee, lemons and herbs waft through the warm landscape and everywhere the heat of the sun beats down mercilessly on this engaging detective, the commanding outsider, who sails in,observes and assesses the islanders and solves the mystery with the minimum of effort, displaying humour and sensitivity along the way.
A gentle and rewarding holiday read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Greek island mystery, 25 April 2011
Another excellent story from Anne Zouroudi about the lightly stepping, fat detective Hermes Diaktoros. Immerse yourself in the life of the small Greek island as Hermes, based on his luxurious yacht, unravels the riddles that confront him in the local church and village.
Full of atmosphere, suspense, morality and justice.
A delightful summer read that is well paced and laced with the spirit of island life. Smell the lemons, sample the pastries, taste the coffee - relax and enjoy.
Bring on the next Hermes Diaktoros adventure.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite enough mystery in this mystery..., 28 Aug. 2010
By 
H. Playford "mambohels" - See all my reviews
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Being an avid reader of detective and mystery novels of all kinds, I was excited to be introduced to Anne Zouroudi and her enigmatic creation Hermes Diaktoros.

I'm teetering somewhere around the "almost disappointed" mark.

I'll start with the positives. The Lady of Sorrows is set on a small Greek island in late summer, and the author paints this setting with a delicate and convincing descriptive narrative. The characterisation of the islanders was also excellent - they were varied, colourful and always real. A good word to describe this book is "gentle" - if you like your mysteries fast paced and exciting, leave this one alone! I also found that it was curiously lacking in a sense of time; sometimes I was convinced it was set in the almost-present, and other times that we were back in the 1960s; this sense of mystery I enjoyed.

And now the - well, negatives is too harsh a word - less positive things. Hermes himself, "the Fat Man", is an incredibly enigmatic character but I spent the entire book wishing we knew a little more about him. I'm all for intrigue, but since we never found out who he was, I found it difficult to care whether he solved the case or not. And hence, my title: not enough mystery. All the plot points were there (theft, murder, etc) but they were all dealt with so gently that I was left frustrated. There was no sign of the police, just the Fat Man to gently, calmly, hand out his own form of recrimination.

There was no suspense, no fight for justice, just a man with well polished shoes who kept his eyes wide open and untangled for the reader a mess of lies and betrayal that he and most of the islanders seemed to understand already. I found it quite hard to engage.

This is not a bad book. It is sunny, gentle and intriguing, and definitely of higher quality than many summer releases. Just don't expect a mystery in the traditional sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More please!, 3 July 2010
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I have read all of Zouroudi's books now and I am a total fan. I live in Greece and just for once I have found a writer who really sees not just a quaint and picturesque place, but sees it as it is, warts and all - but appreciates the splendour too.
The main character is very neatly drawn, with lovely mysterious and paganish glints.
I hope she publishes many more and I wish I hadnt read any of her books so that I had the experience to come - more please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lady of Sorrows, 11 Aug. 2010
By 
Mr. B. W. Haynes "b & e haynes" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This is the fourth mystery featuring the Greek Detective, Hermes Diaktoros. It centres around the Icon in the local church on the island of Kalkos which is credited with miraculous powers. You will have to read the book to find out whether this is a fake or the genuine one. A gentle, non-taxing holiday read, but once read it may encourage you to obtain others in the series.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sun-drenched surface with hidden emotional depths, 3 Jun. 2010
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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Hermes Diaktoros (literally Hermes, messenger of the gods in classical Greek) arrives on the island of Kolkos to see an icon of the Virgin which is rumoured to perform miracles. But his arrival leads to death and the uncovering of dark secrets that have lain hidden for years beneath the sun-drenched surface of the island.

This is the fourth of a series but it wasn't a problem not having read the earlier books. Hermes Diaktoros, always called `the fat man' in the text, is like a kind of metaphysical Hercule Poirot, and has the same mix of eccentricity, comedy and an unexpected warmth and wisdom. There is a slightly enigmatic quality about his representation which hints towards his association with the Greek god -for example `immortelle' is an ingredient in his aftershave (p.46), and he associates himself with natural justice rather than man-made laws, and clearly doesn't share the Orthodox religion of the islanders. But this idea is left vague and hinted at rather than definitively asserted and the reader is free to interpret Hermes as s/he wants.

The story is written with style and confidence, and is very visual in its descriptions. Colourful and atmospheric, this is perfect summer reading, evoking the detailed taste, smells and sights of the Mediterranean. At heart, this is a very warm and compassionate book which eschews blood and gore for a clear-sighted look at the pain people may inflict on each other, but balances that up with possibilities of forgiveness and restitution. What I though was going to be a light and fluffy read turns out to have hidden depths - and is all the better for that.
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The Lady of Sorrows (Mysteries of/Greek Detective 4)
The Lady of Sorrows (Mysteries of/Greek Detective 4) by Anne Zouroudi (Paperback - 20 Jun. 2011)
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