Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Such a treat
on 13 December 2012
I have only recently discovered Anne Zouroudi and what a pleasure reading her work has become. Her Greek, non-police detective is a man of mystery. He is frequently described as the 'fat man' and the reader only discovers his name when someone asks him. We then learn he is called Hermes Diaktoros. To say that he is a semi-mystical figure is perhaps reading too much into his personality, but he carries an air of authority without disclosing what its source is, except to say that he works for an authority that is higher than the police.
The mystery here is bound up with the murder of an old man who owned land with ancient remains waiting to be excavated, but which would be valuable real estate which he refuses to sell. Hermes was an old friend of his who is at first accused of his murder. Beyond that the plot is too involved with life in the area, especially as the title suggests, with the story of greed similar to that of Midas, for it to be explained. The whole book is full of the life and scents of this part of Greece. The depictions of the characters is vivid, and surprisingly there are two uncorrupted policemen, which is refreshing. It has some of the elements of a murder story with suspects and questionings, plus some well-described unpleasant events, but the whole effect is of a community busy with its own approach to life.
I have given the book four stars only because it belongs in a genre of its own. Yes, it contains a mystery of sorts, but the real mystery to me is the nature of Hermes. He has an almost god-like quality, yet is fanatical about keeping his white tennis shoes clean. He apparently used to live in the area, but now lives in Athens, a fact which makes him seem llike an alien character to the locals.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something just that bit different to read.