Rogue Reader's Reviews > The Messenger of Athens

The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi
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's review
Apr 07, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery-greece

My second Hermes Diakoros mystery, and the first in Anne Zouroudi's excellent series set in the islands of Greece. This one on the island of Thiminos.

The contrasts and imagery of Zouroudi's writing are delightful, with fine pacing and staging. Here's from the prologue:

"It was the spring of the year; the air was light and bright, the alpines were in bloom. It was a fine day to be out.

She had been out there for two days.

They had found her, at last, but they were not treating her with reverence, or due respect. How could they? Beneath the rising helicopter, she dangled between a soldier's khaki-trousered legs, arms flug wide like a welcome, her own legs spread, open to them all.

Just a quick excerpt that tells so much about the mystery, the place and the person. The public humiliation of this woman's death is immediately apparent: the shame of her most private, most secret place open to the gaze and comment of all.

I love how Zouroudi writes of the food and foodways of the place, so vivid in the pages and in Heremes sensous experiences. I love the writing and you can almost smell it! Here's a taste, Irini's presentation of an outdoor feast on Clean Monday, the first day of Lent. Her mother in law Angeliki clears the ground with a twisted branch of oregano and hunts in the thyme bushes for rocks to hold down the quilt.

Irini spread the Pyrex dishes and Tupperware bowls at the center of the quilt, and laid out the fasting foods: no oils, no fats, no meat, or fish which bled. They had brought olives, fat, sour, green ones and the shriveled milder black: there were carrots, cauliflower and hot peppers picked in brine, baby beetroot in jars, gherkins in vinegar, fish roe in tubes. There was an octopus Andreas had caught, and black-striped, whiskered prawns. There were scallions and Kos letuces Angeliki had pulled from the garden, peppery rocket, pink radishes and the pale mauve gloves of turnips. Irini had boiled potatoes, and sprinkled them with salt and lemon juice; Strathia had steamed fresh mussels with bay leaves and onions. There were slabs of sticky, sweet vanilla halva swirled with cocoa, and flat, dimpled loaves of Clean Monday bread, and wrapped in water-soaked towels to keep them cool - bottles of chilled retsina and lemonade."

See? I can't wait for the rest of Zouroudi's books to get here. I had to order them from England!

Ashland Mystery


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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Rogue Reader They came! They were in at the post office this morning! The Lady of Sorrors, The Doctor of Thessaly, and The Whispers of Nemesis. Can't wait, but think that I shall, putting off the pleasure for just a while so that I can make it last!

Michelle Do they all build on the previous book? I just finished the first one and loved it!

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