Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Devil's Never Idle

When the Devil’s Idle by Leta Serafim is more than a detective story.  Before reading this novel, I knew nothing about Greece.  Leta Serafim’s descriptions of the country, her explanations of historical events intermingled with Greek mythology, made me fall in love with Greece.  The setting is on the island of Patmos.  You will learn that the evangelist, St. John wrote the Book of Revelation here.  The island is very popular with Greek tourists.  It’s like the snow birds in the US going south for the winter.  German tourists fly to Greece.  It must be a “deal” financially.  It is here that a crime takes place.  A German tourist is murdered with a swastika carved on his forehead.
The detectives are a team.  The leader is Yiannis Patronas.  His cohorts are a fellow policeman and a priest:  Giorgos Tembelos and Papa Michalis.  There’s another.  For comic relief add Evangelos Demos. 

Evangelos is a screw-up.  He is described as “Fat and incompetent, he’d been forced out of the Chios Police Directorate after panicking during a stakeout and shooting up a herd of goats.”  And he is the one who was called in first to investigate the murder.  Evangelos knew enough to call in a more experienced detective.  And that was Patronas.  With Patronas, came the other detective and the priest.  The other detective, Tembelos , helps investigating.  The priest adds an objective, fair, and non-judgmental opinion on history and theology.  Yes, theology!  This is Greece, full of Greek mythology and the history of early Christianity.

Let me be honest.  I don’t usually like novels I can’t identify with.  So I expected to be bored by story.  I thought it would be a lot of background of Greek history, mythology and religion.  Greece never interested me.  I never would want to go there.  So I was taken by surprised by the author, Leta Serafim’s seduction of my senses.  She so deftly interwove the background into the story that I craved to learn more.  The island of Patmos is famous because one of the apostles lived and died there.  St. John was exiled to the island.  The island had currently become a popular tourist spot, especially frequented by Germans.  This fact added a special twist of irony.  The Germans during World War II tried to conquer Greece.  “Couldn’t get here with Hitler, so they bought their way in this time.” P. 4.  At this time, the Greek economy was hitting bottom, so the Greeks had to put up with these “one time enemies.”

The first suspect, Maria Georgiou seemed to be the most likely.  She was an  amicable character, so I didn’t want her to be the murderer.  But the deeper the investigation got, the more likely she looked.  She had every reason to hate and seek revenge on the victim.  Maria was even arrested for the crime.  No one else could have done it.  I won’t spoil the plot for you.  Tracking down the history of the victim and Maria will hook you into wanting to know more.  You will enjoy every well-crafted word, in When the Devil's Idle. Each chapter begins with a Greek Proverb.  Think of this one, as you read:
Second thoughts are ever wiser.

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Leta Serafim's Bio:

Leta Serafim is the author of the Greek Islands Mystery series, published by the Coffeetown Press, as well as the historical novel, To Look on Death No More. She has visited over twenty-five islands in Greece and continues to divide her time between Boston and Greece.

When the Devil's Idle
 Book Summary:

In the Book of Revelation, written by St. John on the Greek island of Patmos, it was said a pale horse would appear whose rider was death, others would cry out for vengeance, and the stars of heaven would fall to the earth. Death does indeed come to Patmos when a German tourist is found murdered in the garden of one of the island’s fabled estates. Yiannis Patronas, Chief Officer of the Chios police, is called in to investigate. He summons his top detective, Giorgos Tembelos, and his friend and amateur sleuth, Papa Michalis, to assist him. What the policemen discover will disturb them long after the conclusion of the case. Only six people were at the house at the time of the murder—the gardener and housekeeper, the victim’s son and his wife and their two children, a boy of seven and a teenage girl of sixteen. All appear to be innocent. But access to the isolated estate is severely restricted. Surrounded by high walls, it has only one entrance: a metal gate that was bolted at the time of the crime. Patronas can only conclude that one of the six is a killer. He continues to probe, uncovering the family’s many secrets. Some are very old, others more recent. All are horrifying. But which of these secrets led to murder?

Book 2 of the Greek Islands Mystery series, which began with The Devil Takes Half.

Price/Formats: $6.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Mystery Suspense Thriller
Coffeetown Press
September 1, 2015

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1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Faith. Thanks for the review :)

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