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The Messenger of Athens

(The Greek Detective #1)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,551 ratings  ·  298 reviews
Idyllic but remote, the Greek island of Thiminos seems untouched by the modern world. So when the battered body of a young woman is discovered at the foot of a cliff, the local police--governed more by archaic rules of honor than by the law--are quick to close the case, dismissing her death as an accident. Then a stranger arrives, uninvited, from Athens, announcing his int ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury UK (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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A thoroughly enjoyable detective story. More to follow

As some of the readers of my reviews know (and i'm sure there are one or two) I am a real fan of anything related to Greece. I have read books from fantasy novels based in Corfu, to non-fiction books regarding the liberation of Crete, and a number of stories and genres in between.

Anyway, this novel was wonderful for its Greekness, but also for its detective story. It was a little darker than I had anticipated but that was not a bad thing. It
Tea Jovanović
This series of mystery/crime novels set on the Greek islands is my cup of tea... a bit of exotic settings, not ordinary detective... For those that enjoyed Barbara Cleverly (set in India), or those who like Shamini Flint (set on the East)... You will learn about Greeks and Greece as much as you will enjoy good detective novel... :) Still looking for a publisher on Balkans :)
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Messenger of Athens proved to be what I call a watching book. The kind of book that allows me to sit back and observe a whole different world.

It is a world that is beautifully drawn, with many – almost too many – wonderfully evocative descriptive passages. I was transported.

To a small, remote Greek island, where a woman’s body has washed up on the shore. She was a local woman, and it is said that she must have jumped or fallen from the cliffs. Her body is returned to her family and she is
It took me a long time to get into this book, and it was only the fact that it was supplied to me by the publisher that kept me going.

First up the writing is beautiful vivid descriptions of the scenery, the weather and the ‘sets’ that the story took place in. Basically a woman dies under mysterious circumstance on a small Greek island, a ‘did she fall or was she pushed’ scenario.

An investigator named Hermes Diaktoros (but referred to as the fat man throughout the book) arrives from the mainlan
Sep 20, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2020
A Greek idyll…?

A woman dies on a Greek island and it is put down to accident or maybe suicide. But a mysterious stranger arrives from Athens – Hermes Diaktoros (isn’t that name hilarious with its hilarious reference to Greek mythology? What? You don’t get it? No, me neither, but fear not, the author will explain it – every single time he introduces himself to another character. Hilariously.) “The fat man” thinks there is more to the woman’s death than has been revealed...

I put up with the dirt,
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-other
On the Greek island of Thiminos, a woman's body is found. The locals assume she has committed suicide, and the lazy chief of police is happy to go along with this. Then the mysterious Hermes Diaktoros arrives from the mainland, and begins to shake up the islanders in his search for justice.

I liked the concept of this mystery - a series based around the seven deadly sins, with a detective whose authority comes from an unknown place. The setting is appealing and the characters have an authentic fe
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it weren’t for the helicopter in the book’s prologue, I would have thought that Anne Zouroudi’s The Messenger of Athens took place decades or even a century ago. The attitudes of the people of the fictional (I think) Greek island of Thiminos are very…conservative about gender roles, is probably the most diplomatic way to say it. Women have limited options. They are expected to be faithful housewives and fruitful mothers. The men are almost as limited. The men are supposed to be the breadwinne ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hoopla, audiobook
I really enjoyed listening to this audio book from Hoopla. The “fat man” detective Hermès and the cast of characters, along with the exotic setting, kept me interested. Definitely worth checking out the next in the series.
Keith Currie
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Conductor of Souls

I enjoyed this rather unusual mystery. Set in a tiny Greek island sometime in the late 1980s, I guess, (the drachma is still used, there are no mobile phones), the mysterious 'Fat Man' arrives off a ferry from Athens to investigate the apparent suicide of a young woman. What he uncovers is police corruption, religious hypocrisy, entrenched traditional attitudes and above all a pervasive prejudice against women. The mystery is satisfying, the outcomes reflective of a wild ki
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book haunting and lyrical. Everyday life on a small Greek island. Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Only - it isn't. It's hard work, it's poverty, it's insecurity. Fishing may be good today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. In the system where the resources are scarce, people cling to a certain way of living, living that gives survival, but the price of such survival is high, even that they don't know it. Their own integrity is the price. Close-mindedness, cruelty, secrecy grows w ...more
Death of a young woman thought to be an adulterer on a small Mediterranean Greek island. Written off as an accident but thought by all as a suicide. Until an investigator from Athens shows up and asks questions. I liked the setting and the place. I wasn't fussed with the story. Didn't care for the characters, and again, was pissed off with the treatment of women in the book. I thought it was 1960s or so, then right at the end of the book we are given a timeline and I worked out it was 1994. Not ...more
Bleak and dark with a sliver of hope.

My parents are from a small Greek island, ikaria, so i can relate to the people of Thiminos. I know them and their stories just with different names. An easier book to read because of that.

Was the fat man a god? Son of Hermes? Is that why he didn't cross himself and light a candle when he entered a church?

Chase your dreams or you will end up living and dying on the island of Thiminos.
Anne Shaw
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I was transported to my favourite place on earth - a Greek island - any Greek island! I could see the sea, smell the herbs on the hillsides, recognise the characters and taste the food and drink. A perfect holiday read, or one to read when missing being in Greece. I am so pleased that there are more fat man books to read. What a wonderful character!
Different but quite pleasant and sometimes moving.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, greece
A bit slow to start with and I think the most intriguing mystery is actually about WHO the Athenian, Hermes Diaktoros, is. And the end, I'm still a little bit confused... He's like an avenging angel (Hermes ---> messenger of the gods) so justice was served but not in any conventional way. However, in addition to this, he also served up kindness and hope; a little chance at redeeming oneself. He doesn't fit the anti-hero definition but he definitely has his own style of justice. ...more
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
An excellent mystery. The Greek names are a bit of a tongue twister which almost had me giving up on this book but as it was a challenge read I persevered and I am so glad I did. Loved the mystery of the detective, Hermes Diaktoros, referred throughout as the ‘fat man,’ such an interesting character - can’t wait to find out more about him in the next book. The author gives a wonderful description of life on a small Greek island.

*Book ‘Z’ of the a-z author challenge 2018
Giovanni Gelati
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I shared this novel with one of my daughters and was looking for an opposing view point. Did she enjoy this more than I, and if so why? Was this strictly Chicklit or could someone other than a girly man enjoy it? I was surprised by both how much I enjoyed it and the skill of the novelist.
I have not had the opportunity to travel to Greece but Anne Zouroudi makes it very appealing. Her descriptive ability adds a nice element to the novel. It doesn’t overshadow the plot and does not read like a tra
Michelle Kemp
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people were not happy when the “fat man” started asking questions
I was looking for a mystery by an author whose last name started with a Z and found the first book in a series featuring investigator, Hermes Diaktoros. His name, of course, is that of the messenger of the Greek gods, and he often refers to his white tennis shoes as his wings. He is usually referred to as “the fat man” throughout this book, rather than by his name.

He arrives on the island of Thiminos, a small Greek island that eagerly awaits the arrival of the tourist season. He announces that h
This is the first book in a 7 book series known as both Seven Deadly Sins & The Greek Detective about Hermes Diaktoros aka "The Fat Man" who in this book arrives on a remote Greek Island to investigate the death of a woman which the local police are calling a suicide.
Im not sure I would call this a 'mystery', yes there was a death & an investigation to find out how she died, but the book was more about the lives & times of the people living on this remote Greek Island & the author does a good jo
Narrator: Sean Barrett

I love stories set in Greece (Mary Stewart, Jeffrey Siger) and while I enjoyed Zouroudi's description of the Greece she knew, I found the book itself hard to grasp. It was meandering all over like a traveler exploring on foot, not knowing where she was going (and didn't care). And the frequent references to Diaktoros as 'the fat man' was repetitive and annoying.

I never cared for Barrett's performance of the Harry Hole series by Jo
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up because it was a mystery in Greece that mentioned Greek gods. I finished this book because I’m stubborn and was hoping the ending would be worth it. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t.
By the end of it I couldn’t even remember the main characters name since it was only mentioned maybe twice in the entire book? He was constantly referred to as the “fat man” in every single sentence about him, and it drove me nuts. It was also written in a way that made it hard to tell who was sp
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
If I had read this initial Hermès Diaktoros mystery first I might have given the rest of the series a pass but I read #2 in 2018 and loved it. This one spent far too much time on the backstories of almost everyone on the tiny island of Thiminos. It was only when the mysterious “fat man” was doing his investigative thing that the book came alive. I liken Hermès to “The Equalizer”- a righter of wrongs, a dealer of justice to the unjust and a friend to the downtrodden. How does he do it? What else ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Some of this was good. The beginning, mainly and the setting of a Greek island was interesting. But, overall, I just wasn't very engaged. None of the characters were all that interesting or memorable and the mystery didn't really grip me, so I wasn't toi bothered when the reveal came. I also feel like the random switching between third and first person was totally unnecessary and didn't add anything. 2.5* overall. ...more
Ruth Booth
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set on a remote Greek Island but not the touristic, Sun drenched, taverna strewed Greece we know. The Messenger of Athens introduces us to Greece out of season, in the wind and the rain and the desolation. The images it conjures up of the Greece we don't get to see are unsettling and at times disturbing.
In essence this is a simple whodunnit. It's not a long book and there aren't too many twists and turns. The storyline is relatively simple and we only get glimpses in to the character's lives. W
Pamela Mclaren
Have you ever walked into a gracious living room where the color, the furnishing all look right but you still feel off about it?

Well, I have to admit, I did the same thing with this book. Author Anne Zouroudi set up an interesting and bucolic setting of the sleepy Greek island of Thiminos and then introduces the enigma of the new man on the island, Hermes Diaktoros.

Right off the ferry that brings him to Thiminos, Diaktoros walks into the island's small police department and the first cracks in t
Angela Jones
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an intricately weaved plot with fascinating, flawed and likeable characters. It is set on the idyllic Greek island of Thiminos and depicted via the locals’ viewpoint, showing the small island challenges and how everyone knows everyone’s business and no one can keep a secret! Great read for those who want to or have visited a Greek island.
Ali Salimi
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unusual mystery book with a mysterious detective but i enjoyed it enough .
Entertaining mystery with lots of info about Greek life.
Lauren K
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
The publisher sent me four books in The Greek Detective series after I expressed an interest in this mystery series, set in Greece. I’m not a huge fan of crime and mystery unless there’s a dash of romance, humour or the setting is an exotic location. The latter is what sparked my interest in this one.

A stranger arrives on the Greek island of Thiminos in the wake of the death of Irini Asimakopoulos. The Chief of Police has deemed it a clear-cut suicide but there’s the absence of an autopsy or inv
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Born in rural Lincolnshire in 1959, Anne moved to South Yorkshire at the age of two. Following her education at Sheffield High School for Girls, she went into the IT industry, a career which took her to both New York’s Wall Street and Denver, Colorado. In America she began to take seriously her ambition to write fiction, and bought a typewriter for her first short stories.

On returning to the UK, s

Other books in the series

The Greek Detective (8 books)
  • The Taint of Midas (The Greek Detective #2)
  • The Doctor of Thessaly (The Greek Detective, #3)
  • The Lady of Sorrows (The Greek Detective #4)
  • The Whispers of Nemesis (The Greek Detective, #5)
  • The Bull of Mithros (The Greek Detective, #6)
  • The Feast of Artemis (The Greek Detective, #7)
  • The Gifts of Poseidon (The Greek Detective #8)

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