The Bull of Mithros by Anne Zouroudi

This is the sixth title in Anne Zouroudi’s “Greek Detective” mystery series. I haven’t read any of the five previous novels but that wasn’t a problem at all as this one worked perfectly as a standalone mystery.

The story is set on the small Greek island of Mithros, where the peace and tranquillity of island life is broken when a man is robbed and another killed by the escaping thieves. Seventeen years later, a boat appears in the bay and a stranger is thrown overboard. Until he can provide identification he is forced to stay on the island, where several of the islanders begin to recognise him. Is he connected in some way to the crime that took place all those years earlier? Soon another man arrives on the island of Mithros – this is Hermes Diaktoros, who has come to investigate. But where has he come from and who is he working for?

Hermes Diaktoros is a fascinating and unusual detective, a character shrouded in mystery. His name suggests a connection with Greek mythology (Hermes was the messenger of the gods) and there is definitely something slightly otherworldly about him. We learn very little about his past and he never reveals the identity of his employers either. He is referred to throughout the story as ‘the fat man’, which I thought might be irritating at first but it actually wasn’t. Despite him being such an enigmatic character (or maybe because of it) I really liked the fat man. He also reminded me in some ways of Poirot and in fact I think this series might appeal to Agatha Christie readers.

The pace of the story is gentle and relaxed, but not too slow. It also has a beautiful, atmospheric setting and would be the perfect book to take with you if you’re planning to visit a Greek island this summer! I enjoyed meeting Hermes Diaktoros for the first time and I didn’t feel I was at any disadvantage because of not having read the other novels first. Now that I’ve discovered this series I’d definitely like to read the earlier books and see how the fat man solved his previous five mysteries.

I received a review copy of The Bull of Mithros from Bloomsbury via Netgalley

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15 thoughts on “The Bull of Mithros by Anne Zouroudi”

  1. I’ve just finished this book too and enjoyed it very much. I have read the others in the series but I agree you can read it as a stand alone book. I like the otherworldliness of the whole feel of the book.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it too, Sarah. I agree that the whole book does have a very atmospheric and otherworldly feel. I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series!

  2. This is the first time I hear anything about the author or the series but they seem pretty interesting. Actually, this would be my first detective novel set in Greece (read The Magus which is set also in Greece but is a completely different novel). Thanks for letting us know! 🙂

    1. It’s the first detective novel set in Greece that I’ve read too and I completely fell in love with the setting. I’m glad I could bring this series to your attention!

  3. First time commenter (I think?!) but longtime lurker here.

    A gentle mystery with an atmospheric setting is always a draw for me. Can you tell me in which period the stories are set? I have recently began reading the Classical Greece mysteries by Gary Corby, which are plotted cleverly enough to also appeal to Agatha Christie fans but in tone remind me more of Lindsey Davis’s humour, if a more placid version. I would happily make shelf space for more Grecian-themed novels, so I am glad to learn of Zouroudi’s series.

    1. Thanks for commenting for the first time, Danielle. I’m actually not sure about the period – the story had a timeless feel and I spent the whole book trying to decide when it was supposed to be set! I think it was almost contemporary, but the Drachma was the currency rather than the Euro, so I came to the conclusion it was meant to be sometime towards the end of the 20th century.

  4. I only wish I could read this on a Greek isle this summer! I’m stuck at home, but I’d still like to try this series. You had me at ‘Agatha Christie’.

    1. I’m glad to hear the first one is good. I must make an effort to actually read the other books in this series. I’m very bad at starting a series and then forgetting to return to it!

  5. Hi Helen,
    I love Agatha Christie and am really bad at coming into a series midway through, so it is good to know that this book works well as a stand-alone.
    I haven’t read any books before, which have been set in Greece, so that is also going to be an experience to look forward to.
    Thanks for the recommendation and your thoughtful review.
    Yvonne

    1. I hate coming to a series in the middle too, so I was glad to find that this book didn’t rely on having read the previous ones. I’m assuming the other five novels can be read in any order too.

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