Basic Shareholder by Petros Markaris

978-84-8383-533-3_big Petros Márkaris. El accionista mayoritario. Translated by Joaquim Gestí y Montserrat Franquesa. Original title:  Βασικός μέτοχος (2006). Tusquets colección Maxi (2009). 366 pages. ISBN: 978-84-8383-533-3.

Suddenly Commissar Kostas Haritos receives some terrible news. “El Greco” a ferry on her way to Crete has been attacked by an unknown terrorist commando. Neither their intentions nor their demands are known. The prevailing opinion is that this is a similar situation to the hijacking of the Italian cruise Achille Lauro in 1985. Katerina, Haritos’s daughter, and his boyfriend Fanis are on board. They were going on holiday. Katerina has just finished her doctorate and she was making plans for her future.

Kostas Haritos, unable to think in anything else but his daughter, has to return to Athens to investigate the murder of an advertising model. He was shot at close range, his corpse discovered in Faliros Olympic Centre now converted into a rubbish dump. The only clue available is that the shot was made by an old revolver used during WWII. The investigation is going no where but then another model is found dead, shot by the same weapon.

This is a very fine and very realistic police procedural. Commissar Kostas Haritos is also a very nice and human character. The book is an easy, stimulating and thought provoking read with continuous references to Greek reality. I have enjoyed its reading. Although it is the fourth instalment in a series, it is the first one that I’ve read. However it seems to me that it can be read as a stand alone. The first book in the series Noticias de la noche (Late-Night News, aka Deadline in Athens)  is in my TBR pile and I don’t think it will remain there for long. Globus 2

This was also my third book used to complete the European leg for my participation on Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge.

The Kostas Haritos series is made out of five novels plus a collection of short stories. If my information is correct Basic Shareholder will be released in English this month. Besides Noticias de la noche, Zone Defence (Defensa cerrada) and Che Committed Suicide (Suicidio perfecto) are already available in both languages. The fifth book  Muerte en Estambul (Death in Istanbul) and Un caso del comisario Jaritos y otros relatos clandestinos, a collection of short stories, are also available in Spanish.

Petros Markaris was born in Istanbul in 1937 from an Armenian father and a Greek mother. A member of the Armenian minority he did not have any citizenship for many years. Shortly after 1974 he became a Greek citizen together with the rest of the Armenian minority in Greece. He studied economics in Vienna and in Stuttgart. Later he wrote several plays and cooperated with Theo Angelopoulos on a number of film scripts. Markaris translated Brecht, Goethe, Bernhard and Schnitzler into Greek. The Kostas Haritos series has make him one of the most successful Greek authors today. He speaks and writes in Greek, Turkish and German. He lives in Athens.

Tusquets Editores

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