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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



Deadline in Athens
(The Late-night News)

by
Petros Markaris


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Deadline in Athens



Title: Deadline in Athens
Author: Petros Markaris
Genre: Novel
Written: 1995 (Eng. 2004)
Length: 388 pages
Original in: Greek
Availability: Deadline in Athens - US
The Late-night News - UK
Deadline in Athens - Canada
Journal de la nuit - France
Hellas Channel - Deutschland
  • An Inspector Costas Haritos Mystery
  • US title: Deadline in Athens
  • UK title: The Late-night News
  • Greek title: Νυχτερινό δελτίο
  • Translated by David Connolly

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Our Assessment:

B : a few too many stereotypes, a bit long-winded (and winding), but solid, entertaining police procedural

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Independent . 12/8/2005 Boyd Tonkin
The Washington Post . 5/9/2004 Paul Skenazy


  From the Reviews:
  • "Strongly written, slyly plotted, spiced with drolly satirical sidelights -- Markaris is a crime writer to cheer and cherish." - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

  • "Deadline is a satisfying if sometimes slow-paced read, the wayward elements of the plot wandering in and out of focus as Haritos reaches one wrong conclusion after another. Still, the material is rich, the characters are drawn with depth, and Haritos himself is an intriguing find" - Paul Skenazy, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Athenian Inspector Costas Haritos narrates this mystery, which begins with the murder of two Albanians -- not a very high-profile case and not something that very many care about. TV reporter Yanna Karayoryi is one of those covering the case, and hints that there might be something more to it; soon she wants to drop a bombshell on the news, but winds up murdered just before she goes on the air. When her replacement also gets murdered, things get even more complicated.
       The uneasy relationship between police and media -- each wanting to get at the information ahead of the other, each for their own purposes -- is just one of the many subjects woven into Markaris' novel. It's quite a net of crime he weaves in this fairly complicated (but neatly connected) case, and among much else he manages to cover office politics (in both the TV and police worlds), Greek politics (the legacy of corrupt rule), some of the consequences of the fall of communism (both in near-by Albania and farther afield), and male-female relationships in contemporary Greece.
       Inspector Haritos is middle-aged -- his daughter is off at university -- and, though he's struggling a bit to get by, he's relatively satisfied with his lot. His marriage isn't the happiest in the world and he has no illusions about his wife, but after they fight they do make up again. Pretty much a loner, his only hobby is dictionaries ..... He's respected at work, but has to work at pleasing his superiors (who are easily swayed by outside pressure). The level of police competency is far from reassuring, but Yanna Karayoryi admits:

you're the only one with an ounce of brains around here. Though don't go attaching much to that. One eye's better than none.
       The mystery is a fairly clever, occasionally over-complex one, with false trails (and other crimes) nicely built in as the whole is slowly allowed to unfold. The secondary characters that are involved, from his boss to the various suspects and the relatives of the victims, are quite well presented, a good, broad look at Greek society (though it's a crowded field in the book, and some are treated too cursorily).
       Athenian colour is also decently woven in, though Markaris tends to simplify and, unfortunately, repeat himself. Haritos gets stuck in traffic practically every times he gets in a car (which is frequently) and Markaris' detailed record of the duration of most of these trips (and the routes) is more than readers need to know. Similarly, there are far too many complaints about the moody office elevator (especially since this isn't a skyscraper, and taking the stairs hardly seems too taxing).
       Haritos affects a slightly world-weary and cynical tone; it works, on the whole, but doesn't always come across right. A certain type of woman immediately strikes him as lesbian, the thought of police brutality (which used to be a matter of course) doesn't even cause him to raise an eyebrow, and he tends to be a bit brusque in dealing with people (though -- this is the 1990s -- he is a middling softie at heart).
       Some of the crimes Haritos delves into here get fairly complicated (and a bit convoluted), but the basic ideas are fairly clever, and it is ultimately satisfying as a mystery. Haritos isn't entirely sympathetic (and appears here still a bit unformed -- it'll be interesting to see what he's like in later volumes of the series), but Deadline in Athens is a good read.

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Links:

Deadline in Athens: Reviews: Petros Markaris: Other books by Petros Markaris under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Greek writer Petros Markaris (Πέτρος Μαρκάρης) was born in 1937.

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© 2005-2008 the complete review

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