The Athenian Murders, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (6 ratings)


THE ATHENIAN MURDERS is a brilliant, very entertaining and absolutely original literary mystery, revolving round two intertwined riddles.

In classical Athens, one of the pupils of Plato's Academy is found dead. His idealistic teacher suspects that this wasn't an accident and asks Herakles, known as the 'Decipherer of Enigmas', to investigate the death and ultimately a dark, irrational and subversive cult.

The second plot unfolds in parallel through the footnotes of the translator of the text.

As he proceeds with his work, he becomes increasingly convinced that the original author has hidden a second meaning, which can be brought to light by interpreting certain repeated words and images.

As the main plot and also the translation of the manuscript advances, there are certain sinister coincidences, and it seems that the text is addressing him personally and in an increasingly menacing manner...THE ATHENIAN MURDERS constitutes a highly compelling, entertaining and intelligent game about the different ways we can see and read reality, about our refusal to take things 'as they are' and our need to interpret hidden meanings into everyday life.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9780349116181



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Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

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Review by

This is one of the most clever and cunning books I've read. Story-in-a-story is not easy to do, and I think that this is the best accomplishment of this type I've seen. Weird murders have been going on in ancient Greece and Heracles Pontor is called to investigate along with his classic sidekick. Their story is told in an old manuscript that is now being translated for a modern audience. Thus the reader sees both the original story and the translator's comments, and as the story progresses they start to intertwine noticeably to an unforeseeable conclusion.Aside from the plot itsef, I had a good time spotting the allegories and eidetic references hidden (usually pretty obviously and also pointed out by the translator) in the text. All in all, this is a refreshing change from all those wannabe-Da-Vinci-Codes that have been flooding the genre of ancient mysteries and manuscripts and I can sincerely recommend the book.

Review by

Clever. By no means predictable. I couldn't put it down.

Review by

What you need to know to get a fuller understanding of the work is the connection to the works of Euripides - especially the Bachae play.The text mixes the rational and the irrational - on one side you have a combined investigation by Agatha Christie and Plato: On the other the dark forces of the irrational and a vision of existence worthy of Mr de Sade! The God of wine and riot is firmly in control by the end of the story.The false trails set by the translator (who has the wrong myth!) are masterful and revealing (paradoxically).Comparisons with 'Name of the Rose' are not false - it isn't an easy read, but is quite entertaining and sustains multiple readings.

Review by

Entertaining; although the author loses the thread of his metafiction a little bit. To me, the part about the tormented translator is the most appealing.

Review by

I have enjoyed reading this book. I was happy that what little knowledge I have of Plato's allegory of the cave, finally came to some good use. (In stead of just answering test questions!)I sped through most of the book, wanting to find out what happens. And although the ending is a little bit of an anticlimax it does suit the book quite well.

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