Saturday, August 26, 2023

The Peter Pan Days of Mykonos




In an homage of sorts to Murder is Everywhere coming into being at a Bouchercon World Mystery Convention some dozen years ago, during each subsequent Bouchercon week (this year held in San Diego between August 30–September 3) we get to put up our favorite posts from the past. It also allows us to spend more productive time immersed in the convention’s legendary bar scene.


So, next Saturday I’ll present what MIE readers consistently favor more than any other of my posts.  But today, I’ve decided to share a personal all-time favorite of my own. It features a larger-than-life character epitomizing the unique souls who brought Mykonos to life during the height of its grand old golden days.


I’ll call him “Micki”—possessing the persona of Peter Pan in the body of Mick Jagger without hair dye.  


I’ve known Micki for thirty-five-plus years, and he precedes my presence on the island by many more.  He’s Greek but London-based and truly brilliant.  To many he symbolizes Mykonos’ once legendary lifestyle.   In “Tales of Mykonos,” a book I’ve tinkered with writing but haven’t yet, stories surrounding Micki feature prominently.  Here are just a few snippets from one narrow slice of this guy’s life. All that follows takes place in a single hotel known for its loyal “artsy” clientele. You could call it an island institution for, as you’ll see, it most surely has inmates.

Micki on making an entrance.

When Micki would get up early enough to make it to breakfast, he’d arrive on his circus-style, monkey-size, bright red motorbike, using his feet to propel it around white linen-covered tables filled with guests.  He’d park next to his table of choice for that morning and, dressed in satin shorts, tennis shoes, tee-shirt, and sunglasses, approach the assembled with a deep formal bow.  Next he’d pronounce some elaborate incantation, mesmerizing the uninitiated in the process, and with a practiced flourish grasp the tablecloth and whip it off the table…followed by the dishes, silver, flowers and whatever else the experienced hadn’t been able to salvage in time.  An “Oops” and smile would follow and he’d sit down to join the table for breakfast as if nothing had happened.

 Micki on Music.

Just off the hotel lobby sat a small room containing the equipment controlling the music played in the lobby.  One afternoon, while everyone but the young female receptionist was at the beach, Micki woke from a night of who knows what and wandered into the control room. He locked himself inside and blasted Chinese opera throughout the lobby for five straight hours. By the time the owners returned from the beach and put a stop to the “concert,” the receptionist was in tears.  I understand she still fears fortune cookies.

Micki on Studies.

One day Micki walked out into the lobby, sat down on a couch, opened a book, and placed it carefully on his lap. He did not read it, did not turn a page, just sat there with it open on his lap for hours.  The book was in Japanese and Micki did not read Japanese.  Finally, the hotel owner could take it no longer and asked him what in the world he was doing.  With a face as serious as those carved in stone on Mount Rushmore he said, “I believe if I sit here long enough calmly and quietly holding the book, sooner or later something will start to make sense.”

Micki on chores.

One afternoon the hotel owner heard a drone coming from the lobby and couldn’t figure out what it was.  He found Micki sitting on a couch listening to his Walkman.  The sound came from the Walkman and when the owner asked what he was listening to, Micki said, “It’s my Hoover”—the Greek word for vacuum cleaner—“I just sit listening to the sound and when I return to my apartment in London it’s miraculously clean.”

Micki on Christmas.

Yep, it's them...decked out for Christmas for sure.

Micki always believed in having a Christmas party with his friends on Mykonos some time during mid-summer, the logic being he’d never see them at Christmas. The hotel staff knew it was Christmas party time when Micki came into the kitchen looking for aluminum foil.  They’d stopped asking how much, just handed him the roll.  Later that afternoon he’d emerge from his room in nothing but aluminum foil. He’d covered his glasses, sneakers, and circus bike.  Made a hat, arm bracelets, wrist bracelets, and just enough of a bottom to cover his butt and barely the front.  The sight was best summed up by an old Greek man who, on witnessing Micki taking off in the bright afternoon sun for Christmas on some beach, crossed himself and said, “May God protect you.”

I’m all for that.  May God protect us all, especially those good souls whose real lives would not possibly be thought true in fiction.

Jeff's Upcoming Events

Saturday, September 2, 8:55-9:45 a.m. PDT
Bouchercon 2023
San Diego, CA
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina—Grand Ballroom, Salon 3
Panelist, Travel by the Book, Mysteries Set in Other Countries, with David (D.V.) Bishop, Carlene O’Connor, Michael Sears (Michael Stanley), J Woollcott, Sharon Lynn (Moderator)

Friday, November 17, 11:00-11:50 a.m. GMT
Iceland Noir, Kjarval
Reykjavic, Iceland
Panelist, Temperature Rising with Philip Gwynne Jones, Lexie Elliot, Jacky Collins (Moderator)



  1. Ah, blessed be those with no regulator weight on their pressure cooker...