Deadline in Athens: An Inspector Costas Haritos Mystery

Deadline in Athens: An Inspector Costas Haritos Mystery - Petros Markaris, David Connolly The novel starts with the murder of two Albanians and Haritos’ investigation. When it seems that the case is closed because the murderer confessed, a journalist is killed and everything gets much more complicated. She obviously learned something that she shouldn’t have and it looks like it is related to the dead Albanians, but their killer has a great alibi for the new murder: he was in jail.

There are some great plot twists. When you think you know who the murderer is and/or why the journalist was killed, you find some new piece of information that points in a different direction.

Costas Haritos is an interesting character. He is underpaid, works too many hours, is not very happily married and wants to close his cases quickly (he even looks for a "usual suspect" to blame for the murder of two Albanians). Nothing too strange here.

But there are things that make his character different from what you expect: he reads the dictionary, and I mean he reads it like a novel, as a hobby, and has a dark past. When he was younger he worked in one of the "interrogation" facilities in Athens. This is the first book in the series of this detective, so some questions about his past are not answered. We know that he didn’t like it there and that he tried to improve the conditions of the prisoners as much as he could without getting caught, but we don’t know how he got the job (or more likely how or why he was assigned the job) and exactly what he did there.

Haritos is human, so even though he doesn’t seem to be a nice man, not everything is bad or mysterious. He really loves his daughter and wants to make her happy and he feels good when he does something nice to his wife. He is also very good at his job and doesn’t like how the police is affected by political decisions, like how some people are almost untouchable, even though they’re clearly either guilty or hiding something important about the case.

The Greece shown in this novel is not the one you see in tourism brochures. There is a clear difference between the people who have money and power and the people who don’t. The course of his investigation takes Haritos to several poor parts of Athens that are well described. Also, things like blackmail seem completely normal and nobody seems surprised.

All in all, a good crime novel where not everything is what it looks like and where all murders are linked in a way you probably won’t predict.