I seem to have been around in the Balkans for some time now. My first visit was in 1985, during Communism, and before the political changes. As an Englishman, it all seemed so unusual to me, that little whiff of intrigue, the unfamiliar faces, and the suspicious eyes which followed me, as I found my way around the very unknown territory. But that was then –
This is why I partly set my books in the Balkans, and most recently Greece, where I now live. To me South-Eastern Europe has always held a fascination; the way that – on the surface at least – it all seems so different these days, whilst underneath the mentality, and predilections, remain much the same.
My main fictional character is the modern jazz loving, classic car enthusiast, and police murder detective, Chief Inspector Michael Lambert. Late of the Thames Valley Police Force, in the UK, he now works for Europol as a liaison officer – the European Union police force in The Hague – although he finds it hard to let go of the reins as a front line murder detective. This is especially so in my most recent novel – The Dance of Dimitrios – which takes place in Greece, Bulgaria, and also in London.
Set once more at the end of the Cold War and Communism, and faced with political intrigue, murder, Al Qaeda and illicit money laundering, DCI Lambert also somehow finds himself embroiled with MI6. But now, free from his carping English wife, Lambert also finds a new love and goes to live with Countess Beatrix in Italy.
There are few good books on the subject of international crime, especially mystery stories which delve into the shady side of politics. There are also few mystery novelists, who are prepared to address the thorny political issues of arms dealing, money laundering, people trafficking and terrorism; in their mystery crime fiction, and DCI Michael Lambert will continue to bring a refreshing new slant to good crime fiction books, as they emerge in the future, from the pen of author Patrick Brigham.
What is it that makes a Murder Mystery author go back in time to the very beginning, and to explore the past?
High Summer in Northern Greece, and that is not the only change, because once again as an author, I am moving away from my usual murder mystery genre with another stand-alone novel, and into the realms of literary fiction. Why the change, I should explain?
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THE DANCE OF DIMITRIOS – by Patrick Brigham
From Murder Mystery to Literary Fiction, and now for sale, this is my newest novel.
In it, I am stepping away from murder mystery, because this is a very Greek story involving the rain, and how flooding changes us, moves the finger of fate, and causes us to reflect on our lives. A series of short stories, they all happen in the Greek town of Orestiada. Stories which simultaneously interlink and become a part of the whole, centre around Iris – the local DHL courier – who in Greek mythology is not only Goddess of The Rainbow, but also the Messenger for The Gods, thereby connecting the individual tales of this 16 Chapter book.
In it there is a murderous estate agent, and his equally murderous wife, an aspiring artist looking for recognition in Athens, an estranged couple separated by time who rekindle their love, a Greek- Australian who is from Melbourne, and a visiting bus load of Russian women from Moscow. They have been invited by the mayor, in order that some of the winging local bachelors might find a suitable wife. There is an illegal Syrian immigrant, a disgruntled typically Greek mother who doesn’t want her son to marry at all, and a Greek Orthodox Priest who has lost his faith. All that and more; stories which come so beautifully together in the last chapter –fascinating and enchanting – which can be read and enjoyed individually, but put together, serve to make the whole novel greater than its component parts.