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The Taint of Midas by Anne Zouroudi
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Ohhh... I didn't realize, reading the first in this series (Messenger of Athens) that this is a 'Seven Deadly Sins' series. The previous book focused on 'Lust' - this one is 'Greed.'

Greed, as it so often does, comes in the form of a rapacious developer, who will stop at nothing to acquire a prime spot of land, on which he wishes to build retirement villas for wealthy foreigners.

Sadly, the owner of this plot of land, an elderly beekeeper, has recently been killed in a vicious hit-and-run. The body was found by his long-time friend, the enigmatic investigator Hermes Diaktoros, who will implacably pursue justice for his death.

Along the way, he will encounter corruption, selfishness and venality - but also moments of generosity and honesty.

The setting here is on the mainland, rather than a small island, and it feels much more contemporary - definitely present day, with mentions of technology and modern architecture.

Overall, this is not nearly as dark a book as the first one. I'm not sure it's quite as good, objectively, but it's less disturbing. Not everyone is as awful and/or hopeless a person in this book as we saw in the prior installment. The reader remains fairly confident throughout that justice will, eventually, be done. Hermes' justice is quite harsh - but satisfying and appropriate. The reader gets a few more glimpses of Hermes - but who and what he really is remains a mystery.

I'd definitely like to continue with this series.

(Copy provided by NetGalley) ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Second in the delightful, highly recommended Hermes Diaktoros "Seven sins" series of mysteries. The theme of each novel in this series concerns a certain sin: in this one, Greed. This was a gentle mystery.

Hermes' good friend of many years, Gabrilis, farms a rocky and nearly worthless plot of land and keeps bees near an old Temple of Apollo. Gabrilis is killed by a hit-and-run driver, while taking watermelons to market. Hermes finds his body lying near the road and after the police arrive, becomes a suspect. An unscrupulous land developer and his two sons are interested in Gabrilis' land and have tricked him into signing it away to them. Hermes wants to find the killer, and deal with other unsavory characters: a zealous radio reporter and the shady land speculators. Many characters, including a young rookie policeman, deal with Greed in their own ways. All ends on a high note.

Our unorthodox detective, Hermes, appears out of nowhere, then after resolution, disappears for parts unknown. We're never really sure of his true identity: from oblique clues, is he possibly the god Hermes in disguise, or just as he appears: a fat man in glasses, obsessive about his white canvas tennis shoes? For all that, he's an astute, avuncular, and endearing figure. He also dispenses wisdom and common sense as needed. The remaining cast of characters is colorful. The setting took me right to the blue skies and sun of island Greece. ( )
  janerawoof | Apr 13, 2014 |
Set on the remote Greek island of Thiminos, Zouroudi has created a mystery that includes my favorite things--an interesting location, interesting characters, and a good plot. When an elderly local beekeeper dies, his body is discovered by an old friend, Hermes, who seems to have mythical powers to help the local police solve the case. Zouroudi's descriptions of this fat man who loves his snow white tennis shoes as well as her descriptions of the other characters make this a book I want to follow by reading the others in the series. (Net Galley ARC) ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 6, 2014 |
Greed and avarice run rampant in this story with its parallel to the story of King Midas. The traditional way of living upon the island is driven beneath the wheels of greed in pursuit of tourist dollars. One man's death triggers a series of investigations. ( )
  cfk | Feb 21, 2014 |
For a synopsis, see elsewhere; I want merely to reassure readers that the fat man is back, in all his glory, and this time it's personal. The bad end badly, the good (what few of them there are) end well - just as it should be. Anne Zouroudi paints a powerful picture of the gnawing miasma that is avarice, poisoning all about it. Only the Greek detective can bring an end to the present trouble in paradise. ( )
  jtck121166 | Sep 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Combined with plotting contrivances and a stagy feel, any lightness of touch in the fat man's inquiries is lost beneath the novel's presiding didactic tone. With neither mischief nor procedural grit, Zouroudi is left with an amiable but somewhat sententious inquisitor whose own pointedly ambiguous provenance is more of an intrigue than the investigations around him.
This is the second book in Zouroudi's Hermes Diaktoros series, and the subject is greed - the first, The Messenger of Athens, dealt with lust. It's good news for readers that there are five more sins to go, because Diaktoros is a delight. Half Poirot, half deus ex machina, but far more earth-bound than his first name suggests, the portly detective has an other-worldly, Marlowesque incorruptibility as he waddles through the mean olive groves
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The rich poor fool, confounded with surprise,
Starving in all his various plenty lies:
Sick of his wish, he now detests the pow'r,
For which he ask'd so earnestly before;
Amidst his gold with pinching famine curst;
And justly tortur'd with an equal thirst.
At last his shining arms to heav'n he rears,
And in distress, for refuge, flies to prayers.
O father Bacchus, I have sinn'd he cri'd
And foolishly thy gracious gift apply'd;
Thy pity now, repenting, I implore;
Oh! may I feel the golden plague no more.
The hungry wretch, his folly thus contest,
Touch'd the kind deity's good-natur'd breast;
The gentle God annull'd his first decree,
And from the cruel compact set him free.

'The Legend of King Midas'
Ovid, 'Metamorphoses, Book XI'
For Will, with love
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Blind eyes bear no witness.
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Named as a suspect in his best friend's murder on the beautiful Greek island of Arcadia, detective Hermes Diaktoros searches for the real killer by investigating the crooked developers snapping up land and threatening the island's most ancient sites.

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