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Friday 17 October 2014

‘The Marathon Conspiracy’ by Gary Corby

Published by Soho Crime, 
June 2014. 
ISBN: 978-1-6169-5535-9

Nicolaos wants to take time off from investigating and concentrate on the preparations for his wedding to Diotima, his partner in investigation. Life is tricky enough with both sets of parents set on their own agenda and bickering to get the wedding celebrations run their way, without Nico's boss, the great Athenian statesman, Pericles, sending for him to investigate a somewhat unusual situation. 'Pericles didn't usually keep a human skull on his desk, but there was one there now. The skull lay upon a battered old scroll case and stared at me with a vacant expression, as if it were bored by the whole process of being dead. I stood mute, determined not to mention the skull. Pericles had a taste for theatrics, and I saw no reason to pander to it.'

The skull belongs to Hippias, the last tyrant to rule Athens. The Athenians had fought the great Battle of Marathon to get rid of the hated tyrant and thought he had died in Persia. What are his remains doing outside the city walls, discovered by two girls who attend the Sanctuary of Artemis, the Ancient World's most famous school for girls? The political fall-out of who amongst the Athenians now in power might have been a traitor and secret supporter of Hippias causes danger and unrest. One of the girls who discovered the skull is killed and the other disappears. When Nico and Diotima go to the Sanctuary of Artemis to investigate they realise that somebody is willing to kill them to prevent them discovering the truth. It is a race against time for Nico and Diotima to solve the historical mystery, the present day killing and abduction, unmask the Athenian traitor, not to mention managing to attend their own wedding.

This book is great fun. It is the fourth in the series but, from the first page, it is totally accessible even for those who have not read the earlier Nico and Diotima novels. Although it is very funny and moves at a great pace, it never makes the mistake of trivialising the murder of the young girl and the scenes with her distraught mother are beautifully handled. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and intend to read the others in the series.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Gary Corby has long been fascinated by ancient history, finding it more exciting and bizarre than any modern thriller. He's combined the ancient world with his love of whodunits, to create an historical mystery series set in classical Greece. Gary lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two daughters. He blogs at A Dead Man Fell from the Sky, on all things ancient, Athenian, and mysterious.

More information is at

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014. Carol also writes a regular column featuring authors of the ‘Golden Age’ for the Mystery People monthly

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