Saturday, September 10, 2011


I guess it falls to me to announce that over the next two weeks you will be receiving something very special each day from my blogmates.  We’re getting together in St. Louis at the end of this week for Bouchercon, where five of us will be participating together in a panel on Thursday, September, 15th between 1-2 PM, titled,  “I WISH I WAS THE MOON, Settings Far and Wide.” (Cara is on another panel and Dan can’t make it in from London, but he did promise to buy a beer for any fan who screams out during Bouchercon, “We love Murder is Everywhere”—That’s right, Dan, isn’t it?).

With all the attendant preparation and travel distractions, Leighton suggested we select the best of our past posts in a sort of golden oldies walk down memory lane.  It was a brilliant suggestion immediately embraced by all.  However, as the new kid on the block, I felt mine needed a bit more patina before they could appropriately be called that.  So, I’ll be posting two pieces that first appeared elsewhere.  This one was posted August 19th on the blogsite of my U.S. publisher, Poisoned Pen Press.  So, as I fly today across the Atlantic, “Welcome to My Life.”

The toughest thing about living on a Greek island is that practically everyone on the planet thinks you’re goofing off, especially when it’s the party-hearty Aegean island of Mykonos.  My Mykonian friends know better.  They keep saying, “Jeffrey, it’s summertime on Mykonos, stop being so American and working all the time.”  (Okay, so maybe not all of them say precisely that, but at least two do and since they’re my spearfishing buddies, and fishermen never lie, they count for more.)

I think the time has come to set the record straight, and what better venue for doing just that than here. 

Learning about evil in all its forms requires rigorous, relentless discipline, and the process can be downright exhausting.   In my case, I personally endure endless hours amid lascivious bars, hedonistic beaches, and downright crazy behavior ferreting out patrons and practitioners not yet cognizant of how anxious they are to share their deepest and darkest secrets.  It may take until well past sunrise, but sooner or later they share—or at least did until I foolishly decided to disclose all this to you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining or suggesting that I suffer more than other writers who sacrifice in so many ways to keep a pact with their readers, I just choose to do my research while sane people sleep. 

And no, this isn’t some sort of elaborate ploy to assure my editor (God bless her heart) that I’m not out there goofing off because she knows (and I’m sure believes me when I said) I finished the draft of my new Greece-based mystery-thriller exactly one week ago today.

Talk about suffering for one’s art, that new book represents an Odyssey (yes, I actually did use that word) I hope never to repeat.  It replaces one I’d finished a year before that was all ready to go until scooped by subsequent world events in a way that made what I’d written appear derivative rather than original.  No use getting into that again because (more) tears on the keyboard will do no one any good.  Let’s just say that come June 2012 Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis will be off and running around the Aegean Cycladic island of Tinos in the most challenging investigation of his career (so far).

Never heard of Tinos?  Not surprised, few outside of Greece have.  But it is the Lourdes of Greece, known for its Holy Icon of the Annunciation and a church that is part of what Greeks refer to as “The Vatican of Greece.”  Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock there each year seeking healing from the icon, some crawling the entire one half mile up the hill from the harbor to the Church of the Annunciation, home to the priceless gold and gem encrusted icon they call the Megalochari.

It is Mykonos’ closest populated neighbor (9000 full time residents) and roughly three times the size of Manhattan.   To me, the true beauty of Tinos lay in its surprises.  Unknowing foreigners find virtually everything about the island a revelation.  But it’s native-born Greeks, those reared on wondrous stories of the holy icon and perhaps even a daylong pilgrimage or two, who are most surprised at what they discover outside the harbor town.

Fifty villages as quiet and undisturbed as a dreamer’s quaint fantasy of Greece; brilliant vistas at every turn; a meandering two-hundred-mile network of cobblestone trails and old farm paths running from hillside to hillside and dipping into the valleys in between; and a history of fabled marble quarries and artisans linked to some of Greece’s greatest artistic achievements.

Amid such calm charm and deep religiosity how could evil possibly rear its head?  Let alone in a manner severe enough to require the attention of Greece’s Chief of Special Crimes.  All I can reveal at this point is that my tireless struggles through investigative Mykonos nights (and Tinos days of exploration) once more paid off. 

But if by some unfair twist of fate this story, too, is scooped by subsequent actual events, I can assure you what the plot of my next book will be: a New York City lawyer who walked away from his big city life to fulfill his dream of writing mystery novels on a Greek island paradise wins the biggest lottery ever.

Hmmm.  Then again, perhaps he already has?



  1. Looking forward to a new book.

    Put in a good word for you:

  2. It sounds like a winning ticket to me, and we are the lucky recipients of your good fortune. I wish I could go to Bouchercon; I bet you guys will have a great time. Are you all going to sell t-shirts? What a fun idea for us. However, I realize that you're busy doing other things. Have a wonderful time.

  3. I just landed in NYC and the first thing I saw were words of encouragement that make me want to get over my jet lag ASAP:). Thanks, Liz, for the plug and Lil for giving me an idea on how to make a few bucks in the garment business! I shall pass your suggestion on to my blogmates.


  4. Welcome back, Jeff. Can I change my mind about Bouchercon and go stay at your place on Mykonos?

  5. Tim, it would not be the same without you...neither place:).


  6. Right about the beer for shouting out Jeff. If you won't mind getting them in in my absence though...

  7. No problem, Dan, I'll put it on Tim's tab.