The Doctor of Thessaly, By Anne Zouroudi

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The Independent Culture

If you don't find yourself in Greece this summer, then Zouroudi's latest mystery brings the Hellenic vibe tantalisingly close. Once again Hermes Diaktoros - a reassuringly earthbound investigator - finds himself dealing with a chorus of colourful locals.

The novel opens as a jilted bride weeps on the beach, and a doctor is blinded in a churchyard. Over coffee and ouzo, Hermes must solve the brutal crime, thwarting the town's ex-mayor and his cronies.

At the heart of the story lies the soured relationship of sisters. The plot works well, but more diverting still is Zouroudi's atmospheric portrait of this austerely beautiful backwater.