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In turn-of-the-millennium Athens, failed theology student Grigoris Kardamylios, alienated by an odd hereditary custom from participating in the family shipping company, sets out to become a private detective. In the aftermath of an unexpected adventure involving the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul and visit to the Byzantine-era monasteries of Mt. Athos, it seems like the logical thing to do…
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The grandson of an Orthodox priest and descendant of a tanking shipping firm which his younger sister will solely inherit, due to an odd family custom, Grigoris soon seeks to establish his detective business in Crete, unwittingly setting off a chain of events with far-reaching implications, and earning the wrathfof the comically self-important local police inspector and a village priest.
Returning to Athens (and later, Thessaloniki), Grigoris meets people with complex backgrounds from the media to the military, embodying the diversity of Greek world-views from anarchism to nationalist religious fervor. With a close eye to the snice-forgotten details of the early 21st-century Greece, the first Detective Grigoris novel is set against events like the kidnapping of Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, the Greek and Turkish earthquakes of 1999, financial turbulence in both countries of the same year, and maritime consolidation efforts of the period, as well as the final operations fo the former left-wing terrorist group, 17 November. This historical context includes larger external events such as 9/11 and the build-up to war in Iraq.
Completely self-taught as a private investigator, ‘Detective Grigoris’ slowly but surely establishes himself, gathering insights from ascetic monks, eccentric journalists, military veterans and diplomats, among others. In comical fashion, Detective Grigoris often seems a step behind the action as he tries to interpret an increasingly complex and interwoven set of mysteries- the result of which leads to a stunning yet unwelcome revelation about the relationship between politics, business and international diplomacy.
Recent in time, but now almost forgotten, turn-of-the-millennium Greece, Turkey and the Balkans was an action-packed and exciting region of indeterminate outcomes, one noted for terrorist attacks, secret operations, stock-market plunges, security-related scandals, NATO’s Kosovo intervention, and the looming dread of technological apocalypse that many feared would accompany the clocks and computers in their countdown to the year 2000.
Against this forgotten historical context, a 23-year-old Greek emerges to eventually become the country’s ‘most famously obscure detective.’ The first collection of Detective Grigoris mysteries introduces the character, his family and acquaintances, which recur and are deepened throughout the successive chapters. The book will appeal to readers of the detective-fiction genre broadly, but also fans of international-intrigue, alternate histories, literature and philosophy and even of the sights and sounds of the region described.
The author’s main goal is innovation, to create something entirely new. Indeed, everything from the typical tropes to plot schematics of the genre are turned on their head in these stories of action and intrigue; further, the experimental nature of Christopher Deliso’s research and writing are reflected in how these stories (in overt and covert forms alike) celebrate the greater literary and philosophical predecessors of the work within the genre.
Read an excerpt from a Detective Grigoris work-in-progress: the first half of ‘The Mystery of the Black Whirlpool’
Future Detective Grigoris Collections- The Years between and Modern Technology
Beyond the first collection of Detective Grigoris Mysteries, begun in September 2021, several follow-on novels are in the works.
The second and third collections of cases and mysteries follow Grigoris’ expanding career, as he solves national and international cases, establishing a reputation for discreetly (and sometimes, accidentally) getting to the bottom of the mystery at hand… while occasionally escaping deadly situations- and living to make new powerful new enemies in the process.
In the fourth and fifth novels (set in the early 2020’s), the action centers around cases affecting the family shipping business, drawing a full circle around the larger enigmas. known and unknown, about the historic company and the family’s hidden enemies. As in the earlier books, the larger plots include contemporaneous contexts of world events, such as the pandemic, war in Ukraine, and other events.
The sixth Detective Grigoris collection, perhaps the most amusing, consists of stand-alone cases in the early 2020’s, most involving various aspects of modern technology, and the varied reactions to it of the detective – who steadfastly avoids owning a Smartphone, despite his keenness to use modern technology when it can help him solve cases – and other characters, such as the isolated rural monks of Athos and the detective’s friends and foes alike.