The Lady of Sorrows, By Anne Zouroudi

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The Independent Culture

The heat and smells of a Mediterranean summer are brought tantalisingly close in Anne Zouroudi's latest Hellenic mystery.

The fourth in the series finds investigator Hermes Diaktoros unravelling the connections between a missing icon (snatched from a church) and an ancient statue of Priapus, now missing his most prominent body part.

The chorus of well-drawn locals includes gypsies, Orthodox priests and a laconic cleaning lady – all of whom might have a stake in the missing painting, and an explanation as to Priapus's cruel fate.

The unflappable Hermes acts as the narrative's jovial anchor, intelligently scanning the Aegean in search of answers. In between following up leads and chatting up his witnesses, there's always time for a small ouzo or well-ripened peach.