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The Doctor of Thessaly by Anne Zouroudi

The Doctor of Thessaly

by Anne Zouroudi

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Reading a series in order, I’ve decided, is too normal. Or at least that’s the best excuse I can come up with for starting the Hermes Diaktoros series at book number three - THE DOCTOR OF THESSALY.

Set in a tiny Greek village, a crying jilted bride, leads quickly to the discovery of the groom, and local doctor, horribly scarred and blinded by an attack on the morning of his wedding. Surprisingly almost sanguine about the attack, the doctor is rushed off to hospital, refusing to see his intended bride, as the village slips back into its day to day activities of sniping at the new young mayor and wait for something to happen to jolt it out of economic malaise.

Into this intrigue meanders Hermes Diaktoros, another of those cerebral private investigators who spends a lot of time in this book struggling with the dreadful food and lodgings provided to him by the only option in the village, wrestling with the vagaries of the car he’s borrowed for the purposes of getting here in the first place, and ensuring that his white tennis shoes remain pristine.

Needless to say a fair dollop of eccentricity in the central character, the village identities, the plot line and the investigation techniques.

There’s something wonderfully Greek about this book, and all of the characters in it, with a good plot that resolves itself neatly and not completely unexpectedly, with a slightly more shocking reason behind it all than you’d imagine possible from something that reads as gently and lightly as THE DOCTOR OF THESSALY.

Definitely a series I’d like to read more of (she says knowing that the house is already groaning under the weight of Mt TBR).

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-doctor-thessaly-anne-zouroudi ( )
  austcrimefiction | Oct 26, 2015 |
If you would like to feel as though you've taken a trip to Greece, this is the perfect novel. Anne Zouroudi in The Doctor of Thessaly has written a mystery filled with true to life characters or at least, characters you would not mind getting to know. The characters are a mite eccentric but very real. There is the woman in the village who cooks bad coffee. The whole town knows it. They still choose to go to the establishment for a chat and a cuppa. There are the two sisters, Noula and Chrissa. The eldest is expected to marry first. That would be Noula. Life doesn't always happen in the pattern we pick. There is the mechanic's wife. She keeps hundreds of old, old photographs taken by her father. She will not try to sell them because the sales would disappoint her sick mother. There are more characters. The most important character is the Fat Man. He is a private investigator visiting from Athens.

There is a jilted bride, Chrissa. Her fiancee doesn't show up at the church on time because of a horrible injury. An injury that is not a mistake. An injury that will change the medical doctor's life forever. An injury that will bring to light the doctor's French past. The whole novel is about this crime. The fat man goes about the village asking questions trying to figure out who tried to murder this man and why. I had one problem with the novel, The Doctor of Thessaly. It seemed far fetched to have no policemen around in the village watching the private investigator. No one really questions why he has so many questions. This seems odd because he is a newcomer to the village. All the fat man has to do is just give a tiny squeeze and the neighbors spill their guts. It's so easy, too easy for them to give up the secrets about the people they've known for years and years.

I also hated the name the fat man. His real name is given, Hermes D. The real location where he lives is given. It is Athens. May be the name seems politically incorrect. I cringed each time his name came up. I tried to picture in my mind what this man looked like really. I got the impression he's not fat at all. After all, he is able to squeeze through a door. I would love for the author to include black and white sketches in her novels. This would give extra flavor to the novel. I feel people like the postmaster would look like Charles Dickens' characters. Why can't we know the private investigator by his first name or last name or both names like Sherlock Holmes? The fat man? It just doesn't work for me.

Altogether the novel is splendid. The reason why the doctor is injured so seriously is shocking. I also had never heard of >>>>>>>>>>, a psychological or psychopathic or may be sociopathic ailment. Fascinating and terribly frightening for those of us with older parents and relatives or who are aging ourselves. It shook me to my boots. Also, surprising is what will happen to the victims of the crime. Is this plausible? Is it feasible that everyone walks away agreeing to keep their mouths shut? Can secrets be kept to the grave? I don't know if this was just the author's wishful desire that every person involved walk away and live a normal life never hearing about the dreadful wedding day again or is it just a way to quickly end the case.

There is a quiet love story going on beneath all these intricate layers of fabric. The lover is a violin player who we almost lose to the bough of a tree and a rope. After a suicide notion is halted by the fat man, there is a kind of lighthearted true love situation to think about after so much heavy drama. I loved the book. Look forward to reading the rest of the series. The series is about the Seven Deadly Sins. The Doctor of Thessaly is about the sin of envy. http://www.annezouroudi.com/books/the-doctor-of-thessaly/ By the way, Thessaly is described as a town where people believed in laying curses or the evil eye on one another. For the next novel, I should have violin music playing in the background. It would just add to the wonderful Grecian atmosphere. ( )
  Tea58 | Jun 30, 2014 |
I'm still as intrigued by the character and origins of the central character in this series, Hermes Diaktoros as I was when I read the first in this series a couple of years ago. He introduces himself as coming from Athens, not a policeman, but responsible to "higher authorities". He shares characteristics with Agatha Christie's Mr Harley Quin as he seems to mysteriously appear from nowhere to see that justice is done. But he also reminds me both of Hercule Poirot of the immaculate patent leather shoes, and Shamini Flint's Inspector Singh who also wears rather incongruous white sandshoes.

It is easy to accept Hermes Diaktoros, always referred to as "the fat man", as a messenger of the gods. He arrives on Thessaly driving his cousin's immaculately kept vintage car, and he interferes willy nilly in the machinations of local politicians who want to bring the downfall of the newly elected young Mayor. The sort of justice he brings to bear would not be found acceptable by the police and yet it seems what the perpetrators deserve. His methods of investigation involve him listening and observing the locals.

If you are looking for a cosy that is just a little different this may be just the trick. It may also set you hunting for others in the series. ( )
  smik | May 4, 2014 |
Third outing for Hermes Diaktoros - Anne Zouroudi's Greek detective. Gentle & observant story telling & good read for Grecophiles ( )
  sianpr | Sep 1, 2013 |
Book three in this fine series, notable for the main character who is mysterious, gentle and maybe magical. The author writes with a strong sense of place and character. ( )
  mlanzotti | Dec 4, 2012 |
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... There within

she saw that Envy was intent upon

a meal of viper flesh, the meat that fed

her vice ... And when she saw the splendid goddess dressed

in gleaming armour, Envy moaned: her face

contracted as she sighed. That face is wan,

that body shriveled; and her gaze is not

direct; her teeth are filled with filfth and rot;

her breast is green with gall, and poison coats

her tongue. She never smiles except when some

sad sight brings her delight; she is denied

sweet sleep, for she is too preoccupied,

forever vigilant; when men succeed,

she is displeased - success means her defeat.

She gnaws at others and at her own self -

her never-ending, self-inflicted hell...

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 2

(Translated by Alan Mandelbaum)
For CP

Acta est fabula, plaudite!
First words
One by one, peal by peal, the joyful church bells fell silent.
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A jilted bride weeps on an empty beach. A local doctor is attacked in an isolated churchyard. Trouble arrives at a bad time to the backwater village of Morfi, just as the community is making headlines with a visit from a high-ranking government minister. Fortunately, where there's trouble, there's Hermes Diaktoros, the mysterious fat man whose tennis shoes are always pristine and whose investigative methods are always unorthodox. Hermes must investigate a brutal crime, thwart the petty machinations of the town's ex-mayor and his cronies, and try to settle the troubled waters of two sisters' relationship. But how can he unravel a mystery that not even the victim wants solved?… (more)

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