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Review: The Messenger of Athens

July 27, 2010

When Irini is found dead on the Greek island of Thiminos, everyone accepts the local authority’s pronouncement that it was a suicide.    Then Hermes Diaktoros shows up saying he has been sent from Athens to help with the investigation, and they all assume he’s a policeman, and cooperate with his investigation.

Hermes gets to the bottom of things, discovering corruption, murder and deception.  But, who he is, who sent him to Thiminos, and how does he know about events from the past?

The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi started out slow for me, only picking up about halfway through the book.  I’m not sure why, but I suspect it’s because it’s rather an old fashioned mystery – there’s no violence or suspense involved.  There is however a wonderful setting and some interesting characters and once I got attached to them, I began to become engrossed in the book.

One of the biggest mysteries of the book is who is Hermes – or the fat man, as he is called – and who sent him, but the reader is never given any background about him, and I found that frustrating at times.  I wanted to know how he knew all that he did.

The Messenger of Athens is the first book in a series featuring detective Hermes Diaktoros.  Overall, I found the writing of the book to be lovely, but the story to be a little bit slow.  I think readers who enjoy a more old-fashioned mystery will enjoy this one much more than I did.

Challenges:  Reagan Arthur Books Challenge

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


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36 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010 7:20 am

    I’m near the beginning of this one and so far it’s interesting but not yet gripping.

  2. July 27, 2010 7:56 am

    I’m looking forward to reading this one for the setting if nothing else. Thanks for sharing.

  3. July 27, 2010 8:13 am

    Did you find out more about Hermes by the end of the book, or were you left with loose ends?

  4. July 27, 2010 8:15 am

    Interesting review. Just reading it I’m curious who ‘the fat man’ is.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

  5. July 27, 2010 8:17 am

    I’m still intrigued. I think I”ll give it a try in a few weeks.

  6. July 27, 2010 8:19 am

    As you know, I totally agree. It was beautifully written but much too slow!

  7. July 27, 2010 8:23 am

    I have heard similar complaints about this book and think that it sounds like I might have trouble with it. I am not a huge mystery fan, but usually, if a book is done well, the genre doesn’t bother me. This book might be a little slow for my liking.

  8. July 27, 2010 8:31 am

    A Greek mystery? “The fat man”? Sounds like it might be fun, if it’s not too slow-paced. At the least, it would be a vicarious trip to a place I’ve never been…

  9. July 27, 2010 9:02 am

    I’m also reading a book now where they don’t tell you anything about the main character – weird, isn’t it? It makes you feel disconnected.

  10. July 27, 2010 10:14 am

    I like the idea that it takes place in Greece – that might make up for the fact that it is slow. But you know, The Singer’s Gun was a slow mystery and I couldn’t put it down. Go figure.

  11. July 27, 2010 10:52 am

    I like my mysteries to be fast pace and thrilling where I can’t put down the book and catch my breath. Although that’s an interesting way to write a book without giving any details about the main character. How was the character development then?

  12. July 27, 2010 11:43 am

    I doubt this is a book for me. But the mystery sounds fascinating. Especially if you are eager to find out how the guy knew everything.

  13. July 27, 2010 11:50 am

    Thanks for the review Kathy. I really doubt this is a book for me but the setting does sound nice.

  14. July 27, 2010 11:58 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed the setting.

  15. July 27, 2010 12:08 pm

    This sounds exactly like something I would enjoy. I like old-fashioned mysteries, I guess I’ll just have to see if the pacing drives me bonkers or not. 🙂

  16. July 27, 2010 12:22 pm

    I just put this one on hold, since it was a Reagan Arthur book! What a coincidence to come over and see you’ve given it a good review! I think an old-fashioned mystery sounds like just the ticket for this fall. I love the cover.

  17. July 27, 2010 12:33 pm

    This actually sounds like one I would enjoy. I like an old-fashioned mystery occasionally.

  18. July 27, 2010 1:44 pm

    Sounds like it’s not my type of book. I keep wanting to read historical mysteries, but whenever I do I don’t enjoy them as much as I want.

  19. July 27, 2010 1:47 pm

    Kathy, great review as usual. Sounds like a good choice when you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned mystery. 🙂

  20. July 27, 2010 2:13 pm

    I’m not a big mystery fan, but this sounds like a good book for those mystery lovers. Of course, the setting of Greece must add to the plot elements, I’m assuming. Setting is so important for me both as a reader and author.

  21. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 27, 2010 3:56 pm

    Probably not the one for me.

  22. July 27, 2010 4:16 pm

    This probably isn’t my kind of book just because I usually don’t do mysteries in general.

    The biggest thought in my head when I look at the cover, and I probaby shouldn’t admit this, is that I think they used the same dead bird from the cover of Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk.

    Oy!

  23. July 27, 2010 4:29 pm

    Sometimes I like to read a quieter novel, mystery thrown in, etc., but I’m concerned that there are pieces to Hermes himself that you’re never really informed about. I wonder if perhaps a series is expected?

  24. July 27, 2010 4:56 pm

    I do enjoy an old-fashioned mystery every now and then. I think its mostly because it offers a much needed change of pace. This sounds like something I could really enjoy. I love the idea of the beautiful scenery and the mysterious character who everyone talks about but very few seem to actually know about.

  25. July 27, 2010 5:15 pm

    That always bugs me! I hate it when you want to know more about a character and the author doesn’t comply.

  26. July 27, 2010 6:27 pm

    Thanks for the review as I’m always on the lookout for a good mystery, especially ones that don’t have too much violence in them.

  27. July 27, 2010 7:19 pm

    not sure I like it that we never find out Hermes’ story.

  28. July 27, 2010 9:21 pm

    my friends just got back from a trip to greece- i may have to tell them about this one 🙂

  29. July 27, 2010 11:46 pm

    I like old fashioned mysteries so I think I’ll give this one a chance.

  30. July 28, 2010 2:26 am

    What an interesting setting. I am a fan of older mysteries, so hopefully I’d like this too.

  31. July 28, 2010 6:36 am

    I don’t mind slow, old-fashioned mysteries, but I also like all or at least the most important loose ends to be tied up at the end of the book.

    From your review, it sounds like this is not the case? It might not be for me then.

  32. Daniela permalink
    July 28, 2010 8:50 am

    Wow, a mystery in Greece. That sounds appealing. I’m hooked on European mysteries ever since i read Kostova’s The Historian.

  33. July 28, 2010 10:31 am

    The setting sounds great, but if Hermes is the main character in a new series, you’d think there would be more background information about him.

  34. July 29, 2010 7:49 am

    Like Sandy, THE SINGER’S GUN comes to mind (not fast-paced, but beautifully written). Is this a ‘cozy’ mystery, or just a little too slow?

  35. August 3, 2010 1:30 pm

    It does sound “old-fashioned” but that isn’t always a bad thing, right?

  36. August 4, 2010 8:11 pm

    I’m not sure if I’d be reading this series, but I do like the blue cover…

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