A homicidal migrant. A spoiled adult daughter who can’t quite figure out that she is not owed anything by her parents. A rich couple who seems very bored and very angry with each other. An underpaid maid who will gladly be bribed, no questions asked. Would you like to meet any of those hollow characters? Then pick up Beautiful Animals.
I guess I’m on an antique history streak… but The Pericles Commission presents itself as a mystery rather than non-fiction. In it, a politician is slain and young Nicolaos, styled as Socrates’ older brother (Socrates being a child) is tapped to investigate the murder. He will be helped by the illegitimate daughter of the dead man, who is (obviously) gorgeous, smart, and determined to work around the strictures of very sexist Ancient Greece. The investigation unfolds slowly because Nicolaos isn’t too bright, it seems (most of the deducing is done by either Socrates or his girlfriend, that is, the daughter), and also because the author unwisely insists on frequent and lengthy pedagogic asides on how ancient Athenians were governed, what they ate, what rituals they followed, and so on. If only the book could show rather than tell, it would be vastly more enjoyable.