The Taint of Midas

The Taint of Midas

Set in modern-day Greece, Zouroudi has created a dreamy masterpiece in her latest crime novel The Taint of Midas. Gabrilis Kaloyeros, a humble and ageing beekeeper, is killed in a ruthless accident, left by the side of the road to die. But is his death just an accident, or is there something more callous behind it? His friend, Hermes Diaktoros, is determined to find out the truth, convinced that there are people who would gain so much by his friend’s death. A complex crime unfolds, and it seems that the true nature of Gabrilis’s death will forever be elusive.


Yet despite a rather intricate plot-line, Zouroudi’s dream-like descriptions make for easy reading in The Taint of Midas. With realistic settings and a plethora of well-rounded characters, this is the perfect relaxing read. But somehow the novel seems to be less of a crime story and more about the investigator Hermes Diaktoros. Whilst reading it, I found myself far more interested by Hermes – an appropriate name for an appropriately mysterious character.


With Poirot-like perception, Diaktoros (or ‘the fat man’ as the narrator refers to him) filters through the narrative and comes to the right conclusions without even seeming to try. As I delved further and further into the book, I began to be unconcerned about the crime itself. Instead, the fat man’s quirks of cleaning his spotless white tennis shoes and wanting to give up smoking but never seeming to be able to intrigued me until the end. Zouroudi is an expert in creating vivid, three-dimensional characters, even for the smaller roles. Her attention to character detail is astonishing, and it is this that drives the story forward. In fact, the only character who doesn’t seem to be scrutinised is the victim himself.


Having said that, this is still an accomplished novel with an original outcome, and crime-fans will not be disappointed with the intricacy of discovering the truth. But don’t be surprised to find yourself pondering more about Diaktoros than the truth of Gabrilis Kaloyeros’s death…

By Julia Molloy

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