Zouroudi, Anne - 'The Whispers of Nemesis'
What a beautiful book! The attractive colour of the front cover gives only the slightest hint of the huge treat that awaits you inside the pages of this exquisitely written piece of magic. Set in Greece in the winter, and full to bursting with delicious descriptions of Greek dishes, the story centres on the charismatically portly detective, Hermes Diaktoros, in his infamous white canvas tennis shoes that seem at odds with the harsh winter weather. Hermes seems to be a quiet and considerate gentleman. He greets the people he meets in the streets and is undeterred by their, for the most part, complete lack of response.
Hermes goes to visit Roula, an old and very dear friend, and in so doing gets caught up in a mystery that has shocked the small town of Vsiri and set the gossips' tongues wagging. Santos Volakis, a well-known local poet, had died some four years earlier in tragic circumstances and his bones had since been transformed into something else, so that his recent exhumation, as is customary in rural Greece four years after death, had caused panic and ripples of scandal throughout the community. Things get worse when a badly decomposed body is then found beside the road near a local shrine. Hermes sets to work to get to the bottom of the mystery and help soften the tragedy for the deceased poet's family. The truth that he uncovers is shocking and totally unexpected.
Our detective, referred to throughout the book as "the fat man", is a somewhat mysterious character that we are told almost nothing about - but this only adds to his charm. When asked, he says that he works for "a higher power", but definitely isn't part of the police and won't say who or what this higher power is. His life is focused on solving mysteries and bringing justice to the unfortunate. He even says the more interesting the mystery is, the lower his fee for doing the work. This book is the fifth in Zouroudi's charming series about Hermes Diaktoros and, although reading more of the adventures of our hero is definitely a very good idea, it is not necessary to do so before reading this current work.
Whilst my favourite books are most definitely on the noir side of crime fiction, THE WHISPERS OF NEMESIS was a refreshing change to my usual taste and I was sorry to reach the end of the book.
Read another review of THE WHISPERS OF NEMESIS.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland