Book Review: The Messenger of Athens

Zouroudi’s first in a series of seven titles uses two parts travelogue to every one-part mystery, for a snail-paced tale set in the Greek island of Thiminos. When Irini Asimakopoulos’s body was discovered at the base of a sea cliff, the local police force is encouraged with a financial incentive to rule the death an accident although many residents believe it to be a suicide. All seems quiet on the small island until the arrival of Hermes Diaktoros, an eccentric outsider from Athens who decides to look into the circumstances behind Irini’s death. A larger then life figure patterned after Hercules Poirot, Hermes proceeds to uncover the islanders’ secrets and dish out a personal brand of retribution, justice and rewards.

While Hermes makes an interesting character with his broad girth, fine suit and an unusual obsession with keeping immaculately white tennis shoes, the introduction of otherworldliness is a bit over the top. The writing style while descriptive enough comes off as awkward as the addition of divine influence. Zouroudi merits watching but this effort isn’t worth seeking out.

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