By Jeffrey Siger
I live on a Greek island. At one time whenever I said that I’d see eyes light up with thoughts of clear blue seas, glorious beaches, and brilliant skies. That’s all still there. The trouble is, with all the bad press my adopted country is getting these days, the typical response I now get is, “Why?”
My response, of course, is “Because I can.” Besides, that’s where I write mystery-thrillers involving issues confronting contemporary Greece that touch upon its ancient roots.
Yes, Greece has its problems. Big ones. But the basic generous and hospitable nature of the Greek people that enticed me here thirty years ago has not changed. And the violence in Athens playing out across the world’s TV screens, though justifiably upsetting, is all happening on the same tiny stage in front of Parliament that demonstrators and police have used for decades in re-runs of their respective roles in Kabuki-style dramas.
On my island paradise of Mykonos there is none of that sort of thing. I just sit here at the edge of the sea starring off toward Tinos and some of the most beautiful sunsets on earth.
Have you ever heard of Tinos? No, not Tinos Pizzeria in the UK or Tinos Plumbing in California, I’m talking about the fourth largest of the Cycladic islands located just a few miles across the Aegean from Mykonos. It also just happens to be the setting for my fourth Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery, TARGET: TINOS, released June 5thby Poisoned Pen Press. Pardon the commercial, but trust me, there will be more.
Maybe you’ve heard of Tinos’ Church of the Annunciation (Panagia Evangelistria)? It draws more than one million pilgrims each year seeking to invoke the healing powers of its Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary (the Megalochari), perhaps the most revered religious shrine in Greece. Or maybe you know the island by its nickname, the “Lourdes of Greece,” or that every August 15th the island is overrun with gypsies coming to pay their respects to the Virgin during the annual religious festival celebrating her assumption into heaven?
You don’t? Well, don’t feel badly, Tinians like keeping their island paradise a secret.
In fact, most visitors to Tinos are only aware of the Church and its surrounding harbor town. They have no idea of the surprises awaiting the adventurous: Fifty villages as quiet and undisturbed as a dreamer’s quaint fantasy of Greece; brilliant vistas at every turn; a meandering two-hundred-mile network of cobblestone trails and old farm paths running from hillside to hillside and dipping into valleys in between; and a history of fabled marble quarries and artisans linked to some of Greece’s greatest artistic achievements.
Unlike other Aegean islands, Tinos successfully resisted Ottoman rule for most of Greece’s occupation, making it a Christian oasis amid Turkish domination and the Cycladic island chain’s economic center and most populated island, earning it the nickname “Little Paris.”
And then there’s the hidden treasure amassed over centuries from contributions to the Megaloghariby the faithful.
Bet it’s starting to sound like a terrific setting for a story.
Perhaps one like this: Are horrific island murders a gypsy clan war, a hate crime, or something else? No one seems to care, except for Andreas Kaldis as he unravels a mystery rooted in a modern secret society practicing two-hundred-year-old ways amid the Lourdes of Greece and its hoarded priceless treasures.
Which reminds me, did I mention that Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times wrote, “ Target: Tinos is another of Jeffrey Siger’s thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales,” or that Publishers Weekly in a starred review called it “superb…a winner”?
And then there’s what Irish mystery writer Sam Millar had to say in the New York Journal of Books:
“Mr. Siger is one of those rare writers whose finger is always on the pulse of modern day upheavals. He is never afraid to tackle and expose uncomfortable subjects—subjects most writers avoid.
“ Target: Tinos not only captures the fragrance of Greece and the ambience of its fascinating history, but also the souls of its inhabitants.
“An authoritative and compelling voice, Mr. Siger is a master storyteller and Target: Tinos is a mesmerizing novel, authentic in its rendering of places and tongues. All this and a terrific, memorable protagonist. Great summer reading.”
If I didn’t it must be because I’m distracted by a glorious sunset. Come on over for a visit and see one for yourself. I’ll even buy you a glass of wine. Maybe two.
Jeffrey Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm before leaving to establish his own firm and continue as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time on his beloved Mykonos.
The New York Times described his work as “thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales,” the Greek Press called him “prophetic,” Eurocrime said he’s a “very gifted American author,” and San Francisco awarded him its Certificate of Honor citing that his “acclaimed books have inspired political change in Greece.”
For European readers: Jeff Siger’s books on Amazon UK
Junying’s Note: 1) The wonderful selection of photographes are credited to Jeff”s friend WILLIAM GRIFFITHS; 2) I have read Murder in Mykonos and loved it (My Review on GoodReads). If you enjoy crime fiction set in amazing locations of Greece and Greek Islands, as I do, you would be in for a treat with Jeffrey Siger’s Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery series.