Murder in Mykonos

American writer Jeffrey Siger's debut novel, MURDER IN MYKONOS, received widespread, critical acclaim as a "brilliant," "can't put down" mystery-thriller, giving "an insider's view of the island paradise of Mykonos," and skyrocketed to rank as the #1 best selling English-language book in Greece!

A young woman on holiday to Mykonos, the most famous of Greece’s Aegean Cycladic islands, simply disappears off the face of the earth. And no one notices.  That is, until a body turns up on a pile of bones under the floor of a remote mountain church. Then the island’s new police chief—the young, politically incorrect, former Athens homicide detective Andreas Kaldis—starts finding bodies, bones, and suspects almost everywhere he looks.

Teamed with the canny, nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the island’s fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery that’s haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.  Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, another young woman disappears and political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas finds himself plunging into ancient myths and forgotten island places, racing against a killer intent on claiming a new victim who is herself determined to outstep him.

Sort of a 'Mama Mia' setting for a 'No Country for Old Men' thriller.

Poisoned Pen Press published MURDER IN MYKONOS in the United States in January, 2009.

Aikaterini Lalaouni Editions of Athens simultaneously released Greek- and English-language versions in Greece.  It was the first time a foreign work of fiction debuted there in both languages. Goldmann Publishing/Random House will publish MURDER IN MYKONOS in Germany in July 2010 (titled OPFERGABEN) and Piatkus Books/Little Brown will publish the novel in the UK and Commonwealth.

REVIEWS

Andreas Kaldis knows why he has been appointed chief of police in Mykonos.  “…his departure from Athens – was exceptionally good news to certain powerful people.  His aggressive investigation into a series of murders over control of the Athenian drug trade had worried them.  Promoting him out of Athens – and out of the investigation – was a political masterstroke that even Andreas could appreciate.  It hurt no one and made everyone happy.  Everyone except Andreas.”  His new job is to keep the people of Mykonos happy so that they in turn can keep the tourists happy.  That is the business of Mykonos and now it is the business of Andreas Kaldis.  He has been promoted into oblivion.

Unfortunately for all concerned, a few weeks after his arrival, a worker in one of Mykonos’ many old churches moves a stone slab and finds a body, the body of a tall young woman, her head shaved and her body laid out in a manner that can only be described as ritualistic.  What makes it worse is that she is lying on top of other bones; the last body officially buried under the slab had been interred sixty years earlier.  These bones are far more recent.

Andreas is joined in the investigation by Tassos Stamatos, the chief homicide investigator for the islands.  Both men know immediately that there will be more bodies, that they are dealing with a serial killer.  Female tourists, killed over as many as twenty years, is a frightening prospect.  How could women be warned without panicking everyone on the island?  The situation becomes infinitely more complicated from the viewpoint of Andreas and Tassos when Annika Vanden Haag is reported missing.  Half Dutch and half Greek, she is the niece of Greece’s deputy minister of Public Order, the office in charge of all police.

Jeffrey Siger allows the reader to into the mind of the killer, to view his insanity.  To the killer, the women are tributes to the gods.  “He had first used prayer to survive his daily moments of childhood terror, later he developed other, more efficient means for coping with his past.  He still  practiced both as his tributes could attest to, had any remained alive….He knew just what to say to gain their trust and bring his foreign tributes down into his world among the foreign gods….”  Sacrifices to the gods had long been done on the islands and he models his tributes on the marble figurines of elongated, naked females, completely smooth, which were created and then destroyed, sacrificed in place of humans.  He knew the gods required so much more of him.  Stone replacements couldn’t garner their protection.  His gods needed real women.  Nothing less could protect and bless him.  He had to thank the gods and pay tribute to the saints of neglected churches and in so doing he would be invincible against his own demons.

Siger brings the story to a close in a manner that is satisfying to the reader, especially if the reader has been paying attention. Yet he does so in a manner that I don’t remember any other author using; it is clever and closes the circle of the story.  More importantly, Siger brilliantly uses religious insanity to create the methods and means of murder without being in anyway disrespectful of the customs of the Greek Orthodox Church.  Not an easy task but one he executes flawlessly.

—MURDER BY TYPE

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