The Black Life

Paul Johnston. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-78029-048-5
Johnston probes Greek anti-Semitism, both during the Holocaust and afterward, in his standout sixth mystery featuring Athens PI Alex Mavros (after The Green Lady). Aron Samuel was believed to have died in Auschwitz with much of his family, but when someone claims to have spotted him alive and well in Thessaloniki, French jeweler Eliezer Samuel hires Mavros to find the truth. The present-day investigation alternates with a first-person narrative set during WWII, providing familiar, but nonetheless harrowing, accounts of the Nazi slaughter of Europe’s Jews. The detective’s inquiries don’t make things simpler for the surviving Samuels, or for Mavros himself, whose wife’s infertility has strained their marriage. The colorful lead, with his unusual heritage (his father was a leader of the Greek Communist party and his mother was Scottish) and dogged commitment to his work, is a worthy addition to the growing roster of contemporary Mediterranean sleuths. Agent: Broo Doherty, Wade and Doherty (U.K.). (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 12/01/2013
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