Murder and philosophy on a Greek isle

Need an entertaining mystery to read? Bob Moyer has another suggestion, this one set on one of the isles of Greece.

Reviewed by Robert P. Moyer

THE FURY. By Alex Michaelides. Celadon Press. 320 pages. $28.99.

“Character is Fate.”

That’s a heady premise behind a classic mystery novel with seven people trapped on a Greek island. Does who we are, determined by our younger selves, then determine what actions we take? And, in this case, murder someone?

Elliot Chase is the self-professed unreliable narrator who presents this quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclaitus early in the novel. With a slow start, he then finally gets us to the island of Aura, owned by retired movie star Lana Farrar. Along with playwright and sycophant Elliot and Lana, the other inhabitants, all unlikeable in some way, are Kate, Lana’s friend and London West End actress; Leo, Lana’s diffident son; Jason, Lana’s financier husband; and two servants,  Nikos, who lives on the island, and Agathi, who travels with Lana. After a brief time on the island, the group is trapped by the mythical winds, cutting off access to the mainland.

At that point, the narrator takes us on a labyrynthine trip through repeats, replays and reveals, in third person, that shed light on the page-turning action. Alex Michaelides does a fine job of whirling us toward the finale, where The Fury grabs one of the “kids” deep inside one of the character’s character,  and they kill someone. With so many actresses as well as a playwright in the cast, Michaelides creates a theatrical context that would be over the top in another story. Here, the drama only heightens the finale.  It looks like the author has another best-seller — and a streaming special — in hand.


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