Saturday, May 25, 2013

Off to Crimefest: Anne Zouroudi's languid island crime

I'm off to Crimefest 2013  in Bristol this week. While I pack my passport and toothbrush, I'm revisiting a few posts about some of the authors whom I'll join there. I might not have read Anne Zouroudi's Messenger of Athens had she not been on one of my panels at Bouchercon in 2011, but let me tell you: I'm glad Zouroudi made it to Bouchercon that year. She is a master of slow, languid pace, of lives stoically lived, and of wrongs righted without sentimentality. What a sense of phsyical and human place. For today's Crimefest blog post, give a big, fat γειά σου to Anne Zouroudi.
=============================
Anne Zouroudi reminds me of Pierre Magnan.  In Magnan's novels, I wrote:
"Consequences unfold slowly, if at all, and characters accept them stoically or with good-humored resignation or silent suffering or secret relief."
Magnan set his novels in rural France; Zouroudi sets The Messenger of Athens on a small Greek island. Her languid storytelling suggests a languid pace of rural life, with dark secrets emerging only slowly, and everyone getting the chance to relate events as he or she saw them.

Into this slow boil comes an investigator from Athens by the name of Hermes Diaktoros (the same name as the messenger of the Olympian gods), sent to investigate a death the locals insist was a suicide. The ancient Hermes was supernaturally strong and wore winged shoes; this one's epithet is "the fat man" and, though he stirs things up in ways some residents don't like, he's content to adopt the leisurely local pace, albeit with the occasional sly joke at which only he smiles.

I'll see how the mystery unfolds. In the meantime, I like this protagonist.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

Labels: , , , , ,

23 Comments:

Blogger seana said...

I've noticed the book come into the store. The covers are quite eyecatching. It sounds like my kind of book, but I don't know when I'll manage to test that out.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Have you read Pierre Magnan as well, then?

I started reading thie book yesterday, and I'll finish it in a few minutes, and that's with a full day's work thrown in. Take that, Sarah Weinman!

I recommend the book highly, and I'll rescind the recommendation only if the ending turns out to be a crushingly unexpected disappointment.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Haven't read Magnan, but he's on my list.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Your list is of high quality. With Magnan and Zouroudi, you may soon read some crime fiction unlike most crime fiction you have read until now.

I've just finished The Messenger of Athens, and no disappointments came my way.

September 05, 2011  
Anonymous Liz V. said...

You reminded me of how much I enjoyed this book by Anne Zouroudi. My library now has a second in the series of four (only three of which are listed on her webpage).

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Liz, the first link in my post is to her U.K. Web page. That one lists four books. (Her U.S. page, to which I link at the end of my post, lists three.) I presume this means that her U.K. publication schedule is ahead of her U.S. schedule.

Have you read Pierre Magnan?

September 05, 2011  
Anonymous Liz V. said...

Peter,
As to Pierre Magnan, not yet, but now that you've brought him to my attention, I shall look for his books.
My library website shows four English language books. Nonetheless, I checked Zouroudi's Greek website for untranslated books and found out she's British.
I don't read Greek, but bookmark books I hope to see translated, such as some of Petros Markaris'.
Enjoy Jeffrey Siger's Kaldis series.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

If you like this book, you might well also enjoy the the three I've read by Pierre Magnan, especially Death in the Truffle Wood and The Messengers of Death.

September 05, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

I recommend the book highly, and I'll rescind the recommendation only if the ending turns out to be a crushingly unexpected disappointment

Endings, eh? An interesting business. There was a Hollywood mogul, whose name I forget, whose first question when presented with a screenplay was always 'Has it got an ending?' He asked that question believing that the ending was the trickiest part of the entire enterprise.

Is that true? I'm not so sure. The ending after all makes up such a small part of the story.

To believe that a good book can be ruined by a bad ending is to believe that the tail can wag the dog.

If a book can be ruined by its ending, and I suppose some books can, then it can't have been much of a book to begin with.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In this case, the ending was of a piece with what had gone before. I was just hedging my bets -- refraining from pronouncing judgment on the book before I'd finished reading it.

I think a book can be ruined by a bad ending if that ending undercuts what had gone before or if it seems somehow dishonest. I can't think of any examples offhand, though. I agree that endings in books may be overrated. A neat quip or a ride off into the sunset will often do the job.

September 05, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Wasn't it Chandler who said a good book is one you'd read even if you knew the final chapter was missing?

Chandler's books survive that test anyway.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know if Chandler said that, but I'd be sympathetic to such a viewpoint. Many of my posts here are about some detail of a novel or about its atmosphere -- things that do not depend on an ending.

September 05, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

This post reminds me to find Death in the Truffle Wood, which I had on library reserve and then got a note that it was no longer available.

However, I think the other book mentioned in there.

And this book set in Greece looks interesting. I haven't seen much about it? Is it set in contemporary times or a historical work?

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The setting is contemporary, though with a pace of lide reminiscent of earlier times.

September 06, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

On the outside chance that I win the Last Laugh Award you wouldn't do me a favour and pick the up the award on my behalf would you?

And if Bateman wins please roundly boo him on my behalf.

May 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd be honored to do so. What should I do if Declan wins again?

May 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Karma: I'm editing a story about the first day of the summer season at the Jersey Shore. When looking for a quotation I could use for a photo caption, the first one I came to was from a vendor from Ballycastle.

May 25, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Oh you should boo Declan as well. Grim silence if an Anglo Saxon wins but boos for the Micks who arent me.

May 26, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, what the hell. I shook his hand last year. Would not want him to rely on that sort of thing every time he wins anything.

May 26, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yikes, I just took another look at the Crimefest site, and:

THE H.R.F. KEATING AWARD
The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biography or critical book related to crime fiction published between 2008 and 2012. The award is named for Harry Keating, who died in 2011, one of Britain's most esteemed crime novelists, a reviewer for The Times, and writer of books about crime fiction.The winning author receives a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass vase.

The nominees are:
- Declan Burke & John Connolly for Books to Die For (Hodder & Stoughton, 2012)
- John Curran for Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks (HarperCollins, 2009)
- Barry Forshaw (editor) for British Crime Writing: an Encyclopaedia (Greenwood World Publishing, 2008)
- Christopher Fowler for Invisible Ink (Strange Attractor, 2012)
- Maxim Jakubowski (editor) for Following the Detectives (New Holland Publishers, 2010)
- P.D. James for Talking about Detective Fiction (The Bodleian Library, 2009)


I know Declan, John C., and Barry Forshaw, but I was part of Maxim's. I wonder if people will buy me drinks if Following the Detectives wins. In fact, I had two essays in the book, so make mine a double.

May 26, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Course, I think Barry Forshaw had four pieces in the book.

May 26, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Fair point. I'm in Books To Die For so maybe hold off on the boos on that one.

May 26, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, Declan's also in Following the Detectives, so I couldn't boo him for that.

May 26, 2013  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home