A fat detective arrives from Athens—or maybe somewhere loftier—to investigate the death of a restless wife within a small, sad Greek island community.
If Poirot has his trademark mustache, Hermes Diaktoros’s calling card is his footwear, a pair of flawlessly maintained white sneakers which might be a modern version of the trusty winged sandals worn by that other Hermes, messenger of the Gods. The unusual mystery certainly suggests there’s more to the investigator than meets the eye as he arrives on the island of Thiminos in search of the truth about Irini Asimakopoulos’s death. The sleazy local police chief claims it was suicide, but Irini’s passion for Theo Hatzistratis had upset many people, including her heartbroken husband Andreas the Fish. In an unspoiled landscape, among a traditional community with protective, tribal instincts, Hermes encounters the innocent and the unscrupulous, the lecherous and the likable. Alongside the pursuit of his inquiries he dispenses advice, remedies and uncanny wisdom while a sequence of lengthy flashbacks supplies the emotional hinterland to Irini’s story of disappointed dreams. Not only does the fat man solve the riddle of her death but he leaves Thiminos a cleaner, fairer, more honest place than he found it.
Quirky crime gains an appealing new detective in this soulful, affectionate series debut.