Top 10: Crime, guns and Greek-inspired literature

Over the years there are Greeks who have written good crime fiction and English-speaking writers who are inspired by Greece and have proved very adept at trawling the Greek underworld. Here are 10 of the best writers of crime novels either based in Greece or featuring Greek protagonists. With summer approaching, perhaps it’s time to take a Greek Noir crime novel to the beach with you.

The hero of this Greek-Armenian writer’s novels is the grumpy Athenian police inspector Costas Haritos. The 12 Haritos novels and a book of short stories have proved to be popular in Greece, Germany, Italy and Spain. He writes in Greek, German and Turkish. His first three novels have been translated into English including: Late Night News, Zone Defence, Che Committed Suicide. He has written non-fiction books including a history of Athens as seen along the old electric train route from Piraeus to Kifissia. In 2013, he was awarded the Goethe Medal for his “distinguished contribution to the German language and international cultural relations.” He has written several plays and worked with Theo Angelopoulos on a number of movie scripts.

Tsirimokos, whose pen name is Yannis Maris is the godfather of Greek crime-writing of the 1950s. He also went under the pen names Yannis Maris-Tsirikomos, Gianni Haniots and was a noted screenwriter. He was born in Skopelos in 1916 and died in 1979. A left-wing journalist, he took to writing in 1953. He wrote over 40 short, well-plotted novels which at the time were looked as pulp fiction but have in later years been recognised as classics of the crime genre. His main protagonist is Inspector Bekas the title figure of a Greek TV series. Contemporary novelist Petros Markaris said of Tsirikomos: “Maris is the patriarch of Greek crime fiction. If his extraordinary stories did not have the luck they deserved, it was because of historical circumstances. Maris wrote at the wrong time and in the wrong place, in a country that considered crime novel series a B genre. Yet no other writer of the time was able to describe with equal vigour Athenian high society after the war and the undergrowth of informers who became rich during the occupation and civil strife. If he had written, say, in French, now he would be famous around the world.” Surely now is the time for a good translator is needed to bring Maris’ work to the English world.

Writer of Athenian Blues and Baby Blue , Koutsakis’ crime novels feature the protagonist Strato Gazis – a virtuous hit man who confines his killing to those who deserve it. Koutsakis was born in Crete in 1974. Koutsakis lived in Chania until 2006 after which he moved to Ontario, Canada with his wife and daughter. In 2008, he returned to Chania only to leave again in 2016, this time to settle in Perth, Australia where he is teaching computer engineering. He is also […]

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