Still trying to get back into the old routine, only away for a few days, but even that short time shows what a creature of habit I am and I have to catch up on chores etc. I start my new job on Monday and the pile of ironing that I said I would do some weeks ago is still there and must be done before then as all my work clothes are in the heap. So tonight is the night. Find a good DVD to bung on and off I go.
In the meantime, I have some book reviewing to catch up on and one of those is The Taint of Midas by Anne Zouroudi which I read a couple of weeks ago, sat down, straight through, loved it. I read her first in the series, The Messenger of Athens , which I reviewed here, and found it thoroughly intriguing so was very pleased when her next one dropped through my letterbox. It would appear that the author is basing her stories on the seven deadly sins, so at least I know I have five more to look forward to. The first was the sin of Lust, and now we have Greed.
Once again, Hermes Diaktoris, the 'Fat Man' is the 'winged messenger' sent from Athens to right wrongs and to investigate dark doings. The Temple of Apollo has been in the care of the old beekeeper Gabrilis for over half a century, but when the value of the land soars and a greedy developer eyes it up, he is forced to sign away his interest, and then later his body is found by the side of the road. As Hermes is the first one on the scene and discovers the body, he is the prime suspect but gradually others, all of whom have an interest in the land, emerge with strong motives for murder and the investigation widens.
The Mysteries of the Greek Detective are not your average run of the mill find body-grill suspects-announce culprit-Hercule Poirot style of murder mystery, they are more subtle with fully rounded characters whose fears and problems run alongside the main thrust of discovering who is the murderer. We meet two members of the police force, Gazis, a seasoned inspector with integrity and character, and his young side kick, Petridis, not yet totally sure of himself and his position and who is more vulnerable to the temptations offered to him in the way of bribes and pressure from the local villains and hangers on. It is this relationship and how Petridis faces up to his mistakes and learns from them, which adds another layer to the story.
Then we meet Sostis, a barber who deals with exactly twelve customers a day, in order to escape the land and spend the rest of his day fishing. He is a good man and he, with the others who help the Fat Man discover the truth, reap their reward at the conclusion of the story as Hermes dispenses his own unorthodox style of justice, one which would not be recognised in a court of law, but that which the gods on Mount Olympus would approve....
Another cracker in this series, with descriptions of the countryside and the heat which bring the scenery to immediate life. When reading the Taint of Midas, as with The Messenger of Athens, close your eyes and you can feel the heat and see Greece:
"The day's heat was at its height and the cicadas hidden in the ferny branches of the tamarisk trees were singing. A tiny jetty, its base a natural outcrop of rock levelled by cement cracked and fissured by salt water, jutted into the sea. At the jetty, a small fishing boat, painted blue with fine details added in read and yellow, was tied in close..................the sea was clear and cooling. Small silver fish darted in the shallows, black urchins formed deep blotches on the rocks.........the water changed from turquoise to ultramarine, where the sea floor dropped away form almost untouchable to the blank mysterious depths and the view beneath the surface was a blue infinity, like space"
I am already looking forward to the next one.