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The Singer from Memphis

(The Athenian Mysteries #6)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  65 reviews
A historical murder mystery adventure that stretches from Classical Athens to Egypt in the footsteps of the first historian, Herodotus
Nicolaos, the only private investigator in ancient Athens, discovers that helping an author with his book research can be very dangerous.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Soho Crime
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Gary Corby It's a Nico & Diotima story!

The Memphis of this story is the capital of ancient Egypt. We couldn't resist having fun with the title.

It's a Nico & Diotima story!

The Memphis of this story is the capital of ancient Egypt. We couldn't resist having fun with the title.

Gary Corby Susanna is quite right.

The books can all stand alone, which is fine for the mysteries. But if you want to follow the life story of our hero Nico, and …more
Susanna is quite right.

The books can all stand alone, which is fine for the mysteries. But if you want to follow the life story of our hero Nico, and the charming and intelligent Diotima, then you probably want to read in order.

Having said that, a very large number of regular readers began with a book in the middle, then went back to the start.(less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  310 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Susan Johnson
3.5 stars

Set in 456 B.C. this sixth book in the Athenian mystery series combines adventure and intrigue. Nicholaos, a private investigator in Athens, is hired by Herodotus to take him to Egypt. It is dangerous as Egypt is in the middle of a rebellion against Persia. Nicholaos' wife, Diotima, decides to accompany them on this mission that includes a pirate attack, attacks on Nicholaos by both a Spartan and a Persian agent, a vendetta by the Egyptian Public Employee Union and a camel ride in the d
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
3.5 stars.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another greatly entertaining "Athenian Mystery" from Gary Corby. Our Athenian agent is given quite an assignment by Pericles, sending him and his wife with Herodotus down the Nile to danger, interesting diversions and characters along with a path that leads to pyramids. The action married to comic relief makes for a delightful book.
There is also a very helpful historical reference at the end of the book where Corby sets us straight with fact vs fiction.

Kindle purchased from Amazon
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gary Corby's latest Athenian Mystery, The Singer From Memphis (Soho Crime 2016) is--again--wonderful. Husband-and-wife Nicolaus and Diotima set out to provide safe passage for Herodotus (yes, the famous ancient Greek historian) as he travels to dangerous areas of ancient Egypt to research his first history book. Along the way, they wage a battle against pirates, are rescued by triremes, run into old enemies who might become friends, avoid death by a varied number of adversaries, and solve a long ...more
Clare O'Beara
Following Herodotus, the war reporter, intrepid traveller and first historian, around the Ancient World is a stroke of genius. Nico from Athens is hired to guard and guide the historian from Halicarnos as he travels to Memphis, then capital of Egypt, which is ruled by Persia at the time. Shaping up nicely for culture clashes and wars.

The witty title refers to a tavern singer called Djanet who will be a contact for Nico, but it turns out that she's part of a move to overthrow the rulers. The Egy
Angie Boyter
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2016, vine
Why haven't I heard of this marvelous series before? See my Amazon review: ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly entertaining. The wit is in full evidence ( did you ever think traveling with Herodotus could be boring?) Corby does, and the result is plentiful laughs along with a mystery that holds up if does not challenge. The usual enormous amount of historical information deftly inserted into the book, along with scenes of surprising sobriety. Usually Corby has been content to land jokes. No quarrel with that, but when he does decide to get serious, well, it opens up some brilliant insights into th ...more
Cathy Cole
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I fell for Gary Corby's grasp of history and his excellent storytelling the first time I picked up one of his Athenian mysteries. Nicolaos is the perfect sleuth, called upon to investigate all sorts of interesting situations by Athens' premier citizen, Pericles. Nico's wife Diotima (a former priestess) is quite talented at deduction herself, and even his younger brother Socrates (yes, that Socrates) can come up with a good question or two (dozen).

Corby has created the perfect little time machin
Claudette Hoffmann
A sparkling treat for the intellect and spirit, THE SINGER FROM MEMPHIS offers enough action, wit, and urgent mystery solving to make this historical fiction a page-turner.

At a time when the Middle East is in geopolitical turmoil (not now, but back in ancient Greece ~ 456 BC when Pericles led Athens) Athenian detective Nicolaos (Nico) starts out on an assignment to escort writer Herodotus safely through Egypt’s war zone. Too soon, he finds himself an agent for Athens working with an agent for th
Gail Cooke
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The host of fans that Gary Corby has garnered with his Athenian mysteries have probably been counting the days until the next one. His unique blend of humor and ancient history are a proven delight. So, for those who have been waiting for the sixth in this popular series, here ‘tis.

Once again Nicolaos, the only private investigator in ancient Athens and an exceptional one at that, tells his story. He is surprised to receive a visit from the up and coming historian, Herodotus who is planning a r
A strange man shows up wanting a sort of bodyguard for a trip to Egypt except that there is a war on. Pericles had suggested it after hearing rumors of a Persian spy from Hellenic background and sends him to our hero. Herodotus, yes that one, engages Nico and Diotima and off they go. A secondary commission is to help the rebel leader do something to help take Memphis. He sends them to a singer for help. They are on a quest to find some lost symbols of authority that will help get the Persians ou ...more
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, greece
I enjoyed this book, and was pleased that this series has continued to be entertaining. In this episode Nikolaos and Diotima are in Egypt, accompanying Herodotus on his book research tour, and working for Pericles as an agent to help overcome the last Persian resistance in Egypt. A Libyan prince named Inaros, allied with Athens, has defeated the Persian occupiers in lower Egypt, but the Persian army is holed up in an impregnable fortress in the capital, Memphis, awaiting reinforcements from Pers ...more
Karen A. Wyle
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might be rounding up a smidgen.

It's always fun to return to the ongoing career of detective/agent Nicolaos, the (fictional) older brother of Socrates (though Socrates doesn't really figure in this installment). He and his wife and partner Diotima, along with the reader, re-encounter some old adversaries, traverse difficult terrain, cope with new animals (crocodiles and camels), and learn about the impressive power, antiquity, and self-interest of government bureaucracy.

As always, Corby combine
Margaret Sankey
No, not Elvis. In this sixth outing of Corby's Periclean Athens procedural series, Nico (the smartass, hard-boiled gumsandal who works as Pericles' fixer, also Socrates' long suffering older brother) and his wife, the entirely capable Diotima, accompany Herodotus to the site of a flashpoint in the ongoing Cold War between Sparta, Athens and Persia--a rebellion section of Egypt. Is Herodotus just there to write a history, or do his Halicarnassas roots run Persian? This is fun and well-researched, ...more
nikkia neil
This series just gets better as the years go by! I've always loved Gary Corby's Athenian series because its honest, laugh-out-loud funny, and even romantic. There's not many books about Athens it seems most are about the Romans so I appreciate it even more. ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite in this series

This is an exciting tour of Egypt with Herodotus, father of History along taking notes! A fun book, the leads have matured at a natural pace and an overall fun adventure set in ancient times with ancient times problems. Well done!
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Athenians, Spartans, Persians, pretty much everyone, are after the crook & flail. A frantic romp through ancient Egypt with a hapless hero, his friends and enemies. Quite enjoyable--reminded me of No Roads Lead to Rome by R.S. Gompertz.
Colin Smith
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
See the review on my blog: ...more
Clemens Schoonderwoert
This delightful mystery is the 6th volume of the exciting and funny Athenian mystery series created by the Aussie author Gary Corby.
The historical details concerning this Classical Greek period of history are very well researched and explained at the beginning of the book, with also a wonderful timeline, while at the end of the book you'll find a well documented Author's Note.
Also at the beginning of the book you'll notice an interesting list of Real and fictional characters, while at the end th
David D.  Knapp, Ph.D.
As part of keeping my spirits up during the COVID-19 pandemic, I've decided to reread two series of novels set in Greece. Why? Because my wife and I are holding out hope that our September/October trip to Greece still will happen...fingers crossed!

I finished all the books in "The Seven Deadly Sins" series featuring Hermes Diaktoros (Hermes Messenger) - which are set in modern Greece. So, it was time to begin "The Athenian Mysteries" series, featuring Nicholaos, son of Sophroniscus the sculptor a
Ernest Spoon
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another rather "fun" series of historical novels. Nico and Diotima, the Nick and Nora of antiquity, are an engaging couple and author Gary Corby knows how to keep the action moving.

Of course the plot was a trifle contrived and somewhat convoluted--especially the denouement--but one must stay within the confines of history. And in my previous reading of history, Egypt kind of falls off my horizon with the Assyrian conquest two or three hundred years before the era of this book. It never a
Bonniecco cco
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a great deal. It's a mystery or adventure story, set in Egypt long ago. I suspect all of the Athenian Mysteries series will be going on my orders from the local library. Real characters from the ancient world appear - in this one, Herodotus will be a familiar name. The narrator is "the obly private investigator in ancient Athens". There is a good plot, many historical references all of which seem to be well researched (though I am no expert) and details like an account of how pira ...more
Cel Jel
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took Nicolaos and Diotema into Egypt with Herodotus the historian. The benefit for me of this was getting a linkage in the history of the civilisations of the region, Persia, Greece and Egypt. So often in the learning of history we are presented one ancient civilisation in isolation, and do not really make the connection to where other civilisations were at the time. So you don't really see how they vary in how their communities are structured or how they run.
I almost missed the clues
Jane Irish Nelson
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
Another enjoyable book in this very interesting and well-researched series. This time Nico and Diotima travel to Egypt — both as travel guides to Herodotus, a would-be historian, and as agents for Athens. Egypt is under divided rule, between the Persians and a Libyan prince who claims to be a descendant of the last pharaoh. Naturally danger travels with them as they encounter a number of unusual situations. Highly recommended.
Margaret L.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After slogging through Bred in the Bone, I needed something lighter and a complete change of pace, and this filled the bill nicely. When they're done well, I enjoy books that take a somewhat whimsical approach to life in other times and places but yet tell a good story. Will definitely read more of this series--and was pleasantly surprised to find I already own #3. ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
2.5? I wasn't sure what to make of this book. Mostly it felt like I was in ", A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", abet mostly in Egypt, not Greece. And, then, to break up the action, someone is murdered in a horrible way. Maybe I should have started with book 1, maybe the author just wants to break up amusing travelogues with gruesome murders? ...more
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun detective series for teaching greek history and culture.
Not rated G; other books include explicit torture techniques I really didn't want to know.
This one isn't as violent.
The modern attitudes of the main characters require a suspension of disbelief.
But it's still a fun way to learn about Greece.
Similar to SPQR series about Rome.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Persians in Egypt. Quite interesting, as usual.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun readable book - I picked this one up on a whim and wow just action funny ancient loved it
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very different from the books I read usually. Kind of slapstick, predictable, yet entertaining.
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I'm the author of the Athenian Mysteries.

Nicolaos, the ambitious son of a minor sculptor, walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles.

Murder and mayhem don't faze Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating 12 yea

Other books in the series

The Athenian Mysteries (7 books)
  • The Pericles Commission (The Athenian Mysteries, #1)
  • The Ionia Sanction (The Athenian Mysteries, #2)
  • Sacred Games (The Athenian Mysteries, #3)
  • The Marathon Conspiracy (The Athenian Mysteries, #4)
  • Death Ex Machina (The Athenian Mysteries, #5)
  • Death on Delos (The Athenian Mysteries, #7)

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