Who hated a venerable monk enough to kill him?
Inspector Andreas Kaldis and his sidekick Yianni Kouros are dispatched from Athens to the little island of Patmos, where a local monk named Kalogeros Vassilis has been found dead in the town square, apparently murdered. Twenty such monasteries dot the mountainous landscape, making Patmos the hub of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Eager local police sergeant Mavros explains that the body has already been moved to prepare it for the funeral, laying the groundwork for the first of many wrangles between Andreas and local officials. He learns more from chatty café owner Dmitri than from either Patmos police or Abbot Christodoulos, who portrays Vassilis as a universally revered figure. Dimitri describes a complicated plot by Russians to get the island's key monasteries moved to Russia. A top-secret meeting between Andreas and a well-protected figure identified only as "Your Holiness" confirms Dmitri's gossip and identifies Vassilis as a target in the plot. The complex case comes at an inopportune time for Andreas, whose lover Lila Vardi is pregnant with their first child. In addition, he begins to have dreams about his father, a policeman framed for corruption who committed suicide when Andreas was 8. Fortunately, Andreas' bantering relationship with Kouros adds warmth and humor to his life, and he catches a break when he finds a key piece of evidence hidden inside a cross that the victim is clutching.
The third case for the appealing Andreas (Assassins in Athens, 2009, etc.) will immerse readers in a fascinating culture.