Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers
Release Date: April 2002
ISBN: 0897335007
Format Reviewed: Hardback
Buy it at Amazon US || UK
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Historical Crime (650BC, Priene, Greece)
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

Murder at the Panionic Games
By Michael B. Edwards  

     Impecunious aristocrat Bias is the minor priest of Poseidon at his temple in the city-state of Priene. When the novel opens, he is busy helping to get things ready for the Panionic Games, where he will be partly responsible for securing Poseidon's blessing for this all-important event. Trouble is, while this is happening the city's best athlete is poisoned and as the dying man has touched Bias, he is held to be tainted with the miasma of death. In order to dispel this and lift any accusation of guestslaying from Priene, Bias is ordered to investigate the murder. Before long there is more than one of those to solve and some important people to question.

     From the first chapter, it is plain that the author is an authority on his subject (he has visited all the places mentioned as well) and it makes all the difference between a costume drama that uses the trappings of the period and one like this that really manages to get under the ancient Greek skin. It is interesting to compare this with other novels set in the more usual choice of the fourth century BC, when women had even less of a place in society and Greece was renowned for more than games and democracy. Bias makes an engaging narrator and with his unique perspective on things (an aristocrat, but a minor and impoverished one) he is eminently suitable for an investigator and a window on a society not our own. Full of period colour and just the right length, the plot could have perhaps done with a few more twists and turns to please crime novel devotees (it isn't that hard to guess whodunit) but the period colour makes up for any deficiencies here - at least, it did for me.

     This is the first book in a new series that is shortly to be followed by Murder at the Festival of Apaturia. One to watch, I think, and how nice to read a novel about Ancient Greece that wasn't set during the Fourth century BC and didn't involve Alexander the Great!

© MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved