ARISTOTLE DETECTIVE by Margaret Doody

ARISTOTLE DETECTIVE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Yes, the Aristotle--though most of the actual detective legwork in this unusually authentic Ancient-Greece murder tale is done by Doody's highly literate narrator, young landholder Stephanos of Athens. When Stephanos' neighbor, wealthy patrician Boutades (former khoregos and trierarkh), is found bow-and-arrowed to death, Boutades' heirs publicly (in the agora) name Stephanos' long-exiled, ne'er-do-well cousin Philemon as the murderer. So family-proud Stephanos must gather proof of his absent cousin's innocence--advised by wise friend Aristotle, who soon has Stephanos disguising himself as a vegetable-seller to sleuth in harbor-towns. And before the real assassin is revealed (the Most Likely Suspect right from chapter one), Stephanos will track down Philemon, make many enemies (with whom he exchanges lively Athenian curses), survive an ordeal or two, listen to Aristotle dispense aphorisms, and go through--in great detail--several Athenian legal processes. Doody embellishes all this with graceful savvy, confidently serving up socio-historical data with dry wit and subdued color. Still, the plotting underneath the impressive high-class Renault-ing is quite ordinary, and the pacing is leisurely at best, making this a stylish curiosity more for playful classicists than for adventurous mystery fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row