Death Ex Machina
A Nicolaos, Ancient Greece Mystery by Gary Corby
Review: When a series of accidents plagues rehearsals at a theater in advance of the opening of the Great Dionysia, a popular art festival in Athens that is attended by many from around the region, a ghost is assumed to be responsible. Nicolaos, the city's only private investigator, is hired to rid the theater of said ghost. Only matters get worse when an actor is found hung from the deus ex machina device used in the play, in Death Ex Machina, the fifth mystery in this series by Gary Corby.
Nicolaos, of course, doesn't believe in ghosts and knows a mere mortal is responsible for the man's death. But the workers involved with, and the actors participating in, the play do believe, so he must accomplish two things: find the killer and convince everyone that the ghost responsible has been banished. And do so quickly, as the reputation of the city in the eyes of its visitors is at stake. Accompanied by his wife Diotma, he travels across Athens looking into the man's past, searching for a motive that he believes will lead him to a killer.
Death Ex Machina is an entertaining entry in this historical series written in a contemporary manner, but the murder mystery plot is very thin, indeed. Far too much effort, for example, is spent on the question of who was the target of the killer: the man as private citizen, the actor playing a character, or possibly even the character himself. This attempt at misdirection generally falls flat, though in principle it is an interesting question to ponder. The characters are nicely developed, and Nicolaos and Diotma are engaging as a couple. There is a lot of history here, much of it seamlessly introduced into the story and supportive of the time and place. A lengthy Author's Note at the end provides context as well as including a Glossary of terms. This is almost certainly not the best entry for readers new to the series, but fans who have enjoyed the previous books will welcome this latest addition.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Death Ex Machina for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Marathon Conspiracy
Soho Crime (Hardcover), May 2014
ISBN-13: 9781616953874; ISBN-10: 161695387X
Location(s) referenced in Death Ex Machina: Athens, Greece
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Death Ex Machina by Gary Corby — A Nicolaos, Ancient Greece Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: May 2015
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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