Siger, Jeffrey - 'Murder in Mykonos'
This first book by this exciting new American author opens on the Greek Island of Mykonos, where former Athens homicide detective Andreas Kaldis has just been posted as Chief of Police. Almost everywhere he looks, he seems to be discovering dead bodies: bodies of dead tourists, girls from Northern European countries who are generally fairly tall, blonde and attractive. He is also locating the bones of the skeletons of long time dead bodies in the same locations of the more recent deaths. These bodies are all being discovered in churches, of which there are many and the local Mayor wants to keep the revelations of these macabre deaths secret, as he fears the effect it would have on the tourist trade.
Andreas and his assistants would also like to help to prevent any panic from breaking out with news about a potential serial killer, but have just been alerted to the fact that the Dutch/Greek niece of Deputy Minister Renatis, the political master responsible for transferring Andreas to Mykonos in the first place, is on the island but unfortunately has gone missing. She must be found at all costs, before anything awful happens to her. The rest of the book details the search for the missing girl and how they try to discreetly look, with help from many of the friends of the Mayor. The technical aspects of the searches are explained point by point as a lot of the Greek Island is mined with deep caverns underground and these must be searched. To further intensify the tension, the missing girl's thoughts and experiences in her isolation are described.
The author writes a very enjoyable and atmospheric book, which captures very vividly the Greek way of life and the difficulty of performing the normal detective functions in a sweltering heat and humidity. It also has some light humour, particularly in contrasting the normal rough, tough police procedural book that one might read by similar authors such as Joseph Wambaugh or the late Ed McBain and this one, operating under the Greek machismo and corruption, which have remained a feature of life since the years Greece was ruled by the Junta. I enjoyed this one very much and I look forward to reading his next books.
Terry Halligan, England