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THE TAINT OF MIDAS by Anne Zouroudi



Pub Date: July 20th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-07629-6
Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown

A starchy police chief and a bearlike everyman both investigate a violent murder.

On the idyllic Greek island of Arcadia, melon seller Gabrilis Kaloyeros tries to go about his usual business calmly, while noisy earth movers all around him foretell the imminent destruction of his bucolic life. Not long after his sad decision to sell his property, his corpse is found on a rural road. Police Sergeant Thanos Gazis, a take-charge type from the mainland, comes to investigate, paired with sleazy young local cop Petridis. The body was discovered by Hermes Diaktoros, identified hereafter by the author as "the fat man," large and loud and claiming to be Gabrilis' best friend. Superficial evidence points to a hit-and-run, but the fat man's outsized personality and persistence in protesting his innocence cause Gazis to peg him as the prime suspect. Now that the police are involved, customers at Delfini's restaurant, along with owner Aris Paliakis, speculate freely on motives and suspects. The story follows various villagers, the mismatched police duo, who proceed methodically enough, and primarily the fat man in his seemingly aimless rambles about the island. He checks Gabrilis' colony of bees, talks to local fishermen and follows a trail of gossip in what appears to be a random and slightly hedonistic way. But in actuality...

Zouroudi's 21st-century Zorba anchors her second mystery (The Messenger of Athens, 2010), whose chief pleasures lie in the author's affection for Greece and her sleuth's Columbo-like detours with the locals.