Are you getting ready for your trip to Greece? Have you started to mentally pack your suitcase? Will you be getting your vacation reading material at the airport or will you order online in advance? If you are looking for something “Greek “to read why not consider one of Petros Markaris’s novels? Born January 1st 1937 in Istanbul, Markaris is a detective novelist starring the grumpy Athenian police investigator Costas Haritos.
Here is a list of his novels available on Amazon.com as well as a brief biography taken from Wikipedia.
The son of an Armenian entrepreneur and a Greek mother, he went to school at the St. George’s Austrian High School in Istanbul and studied after his Abitur for some years in Vienna and in Stuttgart. Because of his father, he belonged to the Armenian minority for many years and did not have any citizenship; he became a Greek citizen shortly after 1974, together with the rest of the Armenian minority in Greece. Markaris speaks and writes in Greek, Turkish and German. Today he lives in Athens.
The Costas Haritos series of books (seven novels and one collection of short stories, as of 2012) are very popular in several European countries such as Greece, Germany, Italy and Spain. Their main hero and first person narrator is a detective in the Athenian criminal police in his fifties, with a squabbling, fairly uneducated, and TV-addicted, but dearly loved wife, an aspiring, but stubborn, law student daughter, and an unpleasant, brown-nosing boss. It is hinted several times that Haritos assisted with the torture of leftist prisoners as a very young man under the Colonels’ regime, a fact he is quite ashamed of now, and which makes him insecure whenever he has to deal with political leftists of all shades (obviously a fairly common species in Greece even today). Being somewhat old-fashioned (and not always too consistent) in his personal views, he deplores the loss of Greek traditions (but still has French croissant for breakfast rather than sesame rings), dislikes the masses of foreigners entering Greece (which does not stop him from befriending and highly respecting individual foreigners) and despises corruption (but gives large “tips” to his physician). His subjective self-deprecating comments contrast well with the objective high work-ethic and even heroism he displays. The modern Athens of rampant air pollution, ugly concrete buildings, constant traffic jams, and hordes of annoying tourists, is the backdrop of the first four novels (the fifth is set in Istanbul).
You may also want to take a look at the following reviews that might help you decide:
Crime writer Petros Markaris channels Greek rage into fiction – by Julian Borger
Petros Markaris: The Greek Master of Crime Fiction – by Lakis Fourouklas