Book Review: The Messenger of Athens – Anne Zouroudi

Title: The Messenger of Athens: A Novel
Author: Anne Zouroudi
ISBN: 9780316075428
Pages: 336
Release Date: July 19, 2010
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

On the small Greek island of Thiminos, a young woman named Irini is found dead, broken by the rocks underneath a cliff.  The local police chief rules it an accident and does not investigate her mysterious death.  The matter is closed until Hermes Diaktoros, something of a private investigator, comes to the island to discover what really happened to Irini.

Review:

I enjoy reading books set in different countries, so The Messenger of Athens really appealed to me.  It’s set in the Greek isles, so I was expecting a very atmospheric mystery, complete with local curiosities and quirky characters.

The Messenger of Athens definitely satisfied when it came to the setting.  Zouroudi vividly portrays life on the Greek island of Thiminos.  This book is almost a travelogue of sorts, as Zouroudi treats readers to the sights and smells of this place.  It’s clear she is very familiar with this type of setting, and her love for it shines through on every page of the novel.  Her descriptions are wonderful and immerse the reader in the locale.

Unfortunately, the plot doesn’t live up to the promise of the setting.  Though it is a mystery, there’s no urgency to it.  Some of the characters are definitely amusing, and almost all hide dark secrets, but there is little that endears them to the reader.  As a result, it’s hard to become invested in this novel.  I wasn’t really interested in discovering the answer to the mystery because I just didn’t feel like I had a stake in the novel or characters.

Despite the fact that The Messenger of Athens mostly fell flat for me, I still enjoyed Zouroudi’s descriptions and the depiction of life on a Greek island.  This is supposed to be the first in a series, and if the plot and character issues are cleaned up, I would definitely consider picking up the second novel.

Comments

  1. I jumped to your last paragraph because I’m reading this one now.

    Shoot. I hope I have a better experience.

  2. I jumped to your last paragraph because I’m reading this one now.

    Shoot. I hope I have a better experience.

  3. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t totally work for you. I think I may skip it. Thanks for the honest review!

  4. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t totally work for you. I think I may skip it. Thanks for the honest review!

  5. My review will be up tomorrow, but basically, I felt pretty much the same way you did. I’ll add your review to the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge blog.

  6. My review will be up tomorrow, but basically, I felt pretty much the same way you did. I’ll add your review to the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge blog.

  7. Ah I know what you mean…the author paints a vivid imagery, but the book doesn’t live upto it 🙂

  8. Ah I know what you mean…the author paints a vivid imagery, but the book doesn’t live upto it 🙂

  9. The review tells everything about that book. It is so amazing. I think I need to buy one and read it. Thank you for sharing this special review.

  10. The review tells everything about that book. It is so amazing. I think I need to buy one and read it. Thank you for sharing this special review.

  11. A mystery without urgency — yes, I can definitely see how that would be a problem!

  12. A mystery without urgency — yes, I can definitely see how that would be a problem!

  13. I picked this up thinking it was going to be similar…or at least along the lines of Kostova’s The Historian (a little bit of mystery with some great European scenery) but perhaps i should return it and look for something else. Humm…

  14. I picked this up thinking it was going to be similar…or at least along the lines of Kostova’s The Historian (a little bit of mystery with some great European scenery) but perhaps i should return it and look for something else. Humm…

  15. I was really interested in this book, but yours is the second less-than-enthusiastic review I’ve read of it, so I guess I’ll be skipping it.

  16. I was really interested in this book, but yours is the second less-than-enthusiastic review I’ve read of it, so I guess I’ll be skipping it.

  17. Oh bummer – I recently bought this book because it looked good (and I loved the cover), so I am disappointed that it is not sounding so good. I’ll read it anyway…and we’ll see if I like it better than you did!

  18. Oh bummer – I recently bought this book because it looked good (and I loved the cover), so I am disappointed that it is not sounding so good. I’ll read it anyway…and we’ll see if I like it better than you did!

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