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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read plus insight into Greece
This is the third book I've read by Petros Markaris and they only get better. Markaris' plots are outstanding and entertainment at its best. Forget about morose Scandinavian detectives who spend all day drinking black coffee, attending meetings and not shaving, Markaris' Inspector Haritos is a man who enjoys life, such as the pleasures of eating stuffed tomatoes and...
Published on 14 Jun 2010 by Velo Mitrovich

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2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I should have bought the A-Z
If, as is claimed, Petros Makarios is Greece's foremost author of crime stories, the rest must be very dull.

The improbable theme of this tale is a series of suicides committed live on television. Inspector Haritos, on sick leave, begins an under cover investigation. This being Greece in pre-Olympic Games building mode there is ample scope for corruption...
Published on 8 April 2012 by G. M. Sinstadt


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read plus insight into Greece, 14 Jun 2010
This review is from: Che Committed Suicide (Paperback)
This is the third book I've read by Petros Markaris and they only get better. Markaris' plots are outstanding and entertainment at its best. Forget about morose Scandinavian detectives who spend all day drinking black coffee, attending meetings and not shaving, Markaris' Inspector Haritos is a man who enjoys life, such as the pleasures of eating stuffed tomatoes and having a good argument with his wife.
Inspector Haritos could be describe as a Greek 'Everyman', who sums up perfectly modern Greek culture, philosophy and views. Although written before the current Greek financial crisis, you will get a great understanding of why it happened by reading this book. In addition, it goes far explaining why a new motorway collapsed within six months of it being opened for the Olympic games.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smashing book, 25 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Che Committed Suicide (Paperback)
I read ONLY foreign crime fiction, not simply because I have seen most of our own stuff seen on TV, but also beacuse the GOOD foreign crime writers give you a REAL feel of the countries in which the action takes place. And this can certainly be said of Petros Markaris! His stories combine both a picture of Greek society (e.g. the interaction between husband and wife, and the problems facing people living in contemporary Athens), as well as giving the reader an insight Greece's relatively recent history. Above all, the writer has the ability to create a sophisticated and serious plot while, at the same time, inserts a good deal of humour. Peter :)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book by Markaris, one of the most prominent literary figures still alive in Greece, 9 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Che Committed Suicide (Paperback)
Before starting with a review of this book, I'd like to point out that it is a direct continuation of the (also excellent) "Zone Defence", which stops mid-sentence. One can still read the two books separately as they are completely autonomous plot-wise, but it would be best to read "Zone Defence" first and then immediately continue with "Che...". Both books are translated to perfection by David Connolly. Very few people, who weren't actually born with Greek as their mother tongue, can do such a fantastic job with a translation! The books' narratives flow so well, that I only have these two books in English and never felt the need to purchase them in Greek, to see how the originals read like. Most of the other translated Markaris books I have in both languages.

Petros Markaris is one of the best living crime fiction writers in Greece- but this is neither all he is nor, indeed, the most important of his achievements. He is also a playwright, scriptwriter and renowned translator of German literature. In fact, he came to write crime fiction very late in life. He is a pacifist and left wing luminary, who has recently become very critical of both the current state of left wing politics in Greece and of Greek society in general, which he believes has in the years after 1974 (post-dictatorship) given up its progressive ideals and replaced them with a worship of money (which also is the subject of this book, "Che Committed Suicide"). Most importantly, Markaris has for many years been the scriptwriter and collaborator of famous Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos.

Markaris has excelled in creating the character of Haritos- who might be a politically conservative person and a (very mild) bigot, as most policemen are in Greece (and indeed, I dare say, elsewhere)- but who at the same time is a decent human being that can't bear to see suffering. Haritos is not corrupt and has never been a torturer of prisoners during the years of the second Greek dictatorship (1967-1974), as many other policemen had been, if only in order not to disobey their superiors. Markaris is remarkably good at describing how such a person might feel and think. He also has a knack for narrating with great precision and bags of irony the way your average conservative, not very well educated, lower class, male Greek person thinks.

"Che..." is one of the best amongst the few Inspector Haritos novels that have been translated into English. He has written many Haritos mysteries and the best ones remain untranslated. You can't go wrong with this book here but, in my opinion, his best Haritos crime novels so far are/will be the 3 novels comprising the "Trilogy of Crisis" (they deal with the current financial crisis in Greece). These are in the process of being published in Greece (only the first and second of the trilogy have been published so far; the first one was excellent, his best one so far). He is that very rare thing: a crime writer with an important social message to send. Only Swedish crime writers such as the terrific and horrifying Henning Mankell and the brilliant 70ies (you-must-read-them-now!) duo Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo have ever attempted and achieved something like this before.

When the Trilogy is complete I do hope it'll be translated into English, along with some of the other Inspector Haritos books that are not yet available in this country. Markaris is a serious literary figure, prominent in the Greek letters (where crime fiction is not as yet considered to be "serious" literature but is viewed as the book equivalent of, say, soap operas). Before his recent very successful crime novels, Markaris used to be very well known in Greece from his unsurpassable translations of Goethe and Brecht. The majority of the Greek population got to know "Faust" from his translation and I am a big fan of his brilliant translations of Brecht's poems (he has even translated the rare and obscure ones), which made Brecht one of my three favourite poets, when I was still at school. The syntax and grammar of the German language are very close to that of Greek and he used this to the fullest extent, making the poems speak directly to your heart and soul, something that can rarely be achieved when you read them in English. Another (little known abroad) fact about him is that he was the scriptwriter of many of Theo Angelopoulos's most lyrical films (Angelopoulos was sadly lost in a motorbike accident in Athens last month, when, while he was scouting for a location to shoot a scene for his latest film, he was hit by a speeding bike). At the time he was making a film about the financial crisis in Greece and Markaris was once again his scriptwriter and close collaborator in this latest project. From reports I understand this was a common labour of the two men; they spent entire evenings discussing and shaping the film's narrative and it is such a pity for Markaris's fans (and Angelopoulos's) that it will never be seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Markaris so far, 26 April 2011
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Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che Committed Suicide (Paperback)
Markaris gets better and better. His first Haritos novels in English translation were a little too complex and intricate for some readers, but this third book is clearly written and plotted, and there are fewer characters involved: the list of dramatis personae featured earlier wasn't needed this time to keep track.

'Che Committed Suicide' takes us into deeper waters, including the legacy of Colonels' regime that left a dark stain on recent Greek history. Inspector Haritos' enquiry into the suicides of three prominent figures takes him into a variety of murky areas, including the preparations for the Athens Olympic games (which left Greece with a large debt), the animus against migrant workers from Albania, and the activities of far-right nationalist movements (here represented by the 'Philip of Macedon National Greek Front') that wants to expel all foreigners. All of this in addition to the usual web of favours, kickbacks, jobs for pals etc that featured in the earlier Haritos novels.

The Inspector once again travels extensively around in his elderly Mirafiori, fuming in the summer heat at the gridlocked Athens traffic, though with some trepidation he tries the new Metro, a godsend to current tourists. He is helped by his boss Ghikas's delightful and enterprising(female)secretary, Koula, who I hope we will meet again assisting any future Haritos enquiry.

We are left at the end of the book with the impression the the Inspector the one really honest person who can be trusted. I can say no more without giving away the many surprises - including the final one that links everything together very skilfully.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Putting together a Greek jig-saw, 25 Jun 2014
‘Che Committed Suicide’ (2003) by Petros Markaris provides a fascinating view of Greece before the 2008 financial collapse as well as multi-layered mystery.
Costas Haritos is a police inspector recovering from saving a woman’s life but enduring his wife’s regime of convalescence and facing weeks of ‘sick leave’. He also fears his replacement by the incompetent Yanoutsos and so he jumps at the chance of putting his detective skills back into practice. Encouraged by his boss, Ghikas, who ‘loans’ him the under-valued Koula, he carries out an ‘unofficial’ investigation into the PUBLIC suicides of prominent Greeks, supposedly master-minded by an extreme rightist group, called the Philip of Macedon National Greek Front. This explores tensions produced by Balkan immigration (partly linked to preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games) and uncovers corruption among the ‘movers and shakers’ of Greek society. Those better informed than myself can judge how far this book represents a situation eventually bringing the Greek economy to its knees, but just consider the ominous complete by one character that: ‘Greece...today.... is an enormous stock exchange’ (P.341).
Above I used the word ‘mystery’ because the book is more than a ‘whodunit’: it’s also a ‘whydunit’ and even a ‘howdunit’. To me it became addictive through a parade of phantasmal solutions as Haritos scrambled his way through the multi-skins of the plot. After the second suicide I guessed at the ‘howdunit’ by considering the Stalinist ‘show trials’ of the 1930’s, but the others had me foxed almost till the end. Haritos finishes up on top (as far as his wife allows) but perhaps that isn’t so true for justice.
An excellent example of modern detective fiction worth 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars On par with the best..., 8 May 2013
This review is from: Che Committed Suicide (Paperback)
Having read and tremendously enjoyed the "Trilogy of crisis",his 3 latest books,in Greek,I was more than eager to explore his previous Haritos adventures.Make no mistake: although the police plots range from very interesting to oustanding,as here,the Police format is just the vehicle for Markaris' accurate dissection of Greek SOciety and politico-economical situation.That he succeeds in both fronts so effortelessly,without ever tiring the reader,the way for example McEwan does,I consider an underrated feat.I firmly believe his "police novels" will be recognized as classic works of a peculiar hybrid fiction in the future.
"CHe" is undoubtedly among his best.As always,Markaris' "killers" don 't try togo unnoticed.On the contrary,their acts are substitute for the lack of State discipline,targeting exemplary figures of corruption and hypocrisy.Haritos,embodies the virtues of old style average Greeks,sincere,humane,humble and hard working,reserved towards his political superior,stoically wise towards his wife,his home dominant force.
You can't go wrong with Petros Markaris...
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2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I should have bought the A-Z, 8 April 2012
By 
G. M. Sinstadt - See all my reviews
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If, as is claimed, Petros Makarios is Greece's foremost author of crime stories, the rest must be very dull.

The improbable theme of this tale is a series of suicides committed live on television. Inspector Haritos, on sick leave, begins an under cover investigation. This being Greece in pre-Olympic Games building mode there is ample scope for corruption. Haritos - helped by his media contacts in the press and television, together with an assistant who compensates for his lack of IT know-how - doggedly treks from office to office conducting interviews. The problem is that the people he believes may be engaged in interlocking business deals have no individual personality - they are mere cyphers to progress the conspiracy.

This is fortunately not true of the Inspector's wife; the fractious marriage is well portrayed but is not enough of itself to save a turgid plot. Matters are not helped by the author putting the reader at the Inspector's side as he drives from place to place. "When I reached the junction at Vasileos Kanstantinou Avenue, I wondered whether it would be better to turn left towards Syntagma Square or right towards Vasilissis Sofias Avebue and take Soutsou Street out into Alexandras Avenue." The decision he takes has no bearing at all on the narrative; it is padding,and there are a number of trips in the same manner. This cannot mean a great deal to native Athenians; to foreigners it is boring and useless.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Greek Walter Mosely, 13 Aug 2011
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Mr. C. M. Smith "Geordie Chris" (Worcester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che Committed Suicide (Paperback)
Costas Haritos has problems - unexplained suicides, mystery biographies, family strife and the inability to get a decent cup of coffee. If you like Walter Mosely (think Easy Rawlings based in Athens) then you should give this book a go
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Che Committed Suicide
Che Committed Suicide by Petros Markaris (Paperback - 27 Aug 2009)
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