Who Is Hermes Diaktoros, and What the Heck Is He Doing?

 Book cover for The Messenger of Athens by Anne ZouroudiReview of the Seven Deadly Sins Mystery Series, by Anne Zouroudi

Some mysteries, especially those of the “cozy” persuasion, move at a leisurely, describe-every-parasol-and-moustache pace. This generally does not work for me. Forget the stage-dressing, give me lots of action and witty repartee, and wrap it up with a clever solution in under 300 pages, and I’ll be your fangirl. Otherwise, it’s the nearest book drop for you, Cozy Author.

But it seems I’m becoming a kinder, gentler mystery reader. To my surprise, I just finished the fourth book in the Seven Deadly Sins series – a set of strangely hypnotic mysteries with a pace that can only be described as glacial.

This is largely due to the mellow, tortoise-like demeanor of the central character, Hermes Diaktoros, referred to throughout the series as “the fat man.” We never learn much more about Diaktoros, other than that he’s Greek, meticulous about his appearance (especially about his trademark white sneakers), and mysteriously well-off and well-connected.  It also soon becomes clear that he’s very, very observant and just about fearless.

The fat man meanders around the Mediterranean doing – well, we’re often not quite sure what he’s doing. Righting vague interpersonal wrongs?  Investigating crimes that no one else wants solved?  He sits in cafes, takes long, leisurely walks, asks the locals odd questions and collects things in tiny boxes. Eventually, what was dark and sinister is brought to light and justice. Sort of.

I realize I’m not explaining this very well, mainly because I have a hard time remembering what actually happens in these books. I just drift along, enjoying Zouroudi’s luscious, atmospheric prose, spacing out in a sweet  Mediterranean dream – the lemony sunshine, the bay dotted with fishing boats, the smell of sea and rosemary.  And hey…that fat man over there. What’s he doing?

Now that I’m deep into this mystery series, I know that if I follow this slow, strange guy around for awhile, things will get very interesting.  And that seems to work for me. 

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS MYSTERY SERIES AT DBRL

The Messenger of Athens” (Lust)*

The Taint of Midas” (Avarice)

The Doctor of Thessaly” (Envy)

The Lady of Sorrows” (Wrath)

*In this first book, the fat man doesn’t appear very often. Fortunately, the author corrects this mistake in the rest of the series.

 Note: The next three books in the series – “The Whispers of Nemesis” (Pride), “The Bulls of Mithros” (Sloth), and “The Feast of Artemis” (Gluttony) are not yet available in the U.S.

About Mysterious B.

The picture gives it away—I’m a dame. Or am I? In the world where I live—second floor of the library, mystery genre section—nothing is as it seems. Best not to make assumptions, my friend. So you hang out in Mysteries too? Listen, I just got a tip on a new Scandinavian page-turner—real dark, twists like you wouldn’t believe. Interested? Meet me tonight at the Reference Desk. Wear a red carnation.
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