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Literature

Author Jeffrey Siger on His Latest Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Mystery

February 13, 2021

NEW YORK – Bestselling mystery author Jeffrey Siger spoke with The National Herald about his latest book in the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery series, A Deadly Twist, set on the island of Naxos.

The 11th case for Chief Inspector Kaldis is a compelling murder mystery in the sunshine noir genre that doubles wonderfully as escapist travel writing. A Deadly Twist brings Kaldis to Naxos to track down both a missing national crime reporter and the deputy he sent to find her.

Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm, and later established his own New York City firm where he continued as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time in his beloved Mykonos. He spends half the year in Greece and the other half in the United States and spoke about the writing process, how the pandemic has affected his work, and the upcoming screen adaptation of his mystery series.

TNH: How long did the process take from idea to publication for this latest mystery?

Jeffrey Siger: My practice has been to write at the pace of one Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis book per year, but my publisher wants each book submitted a year before its scheduled release date. That means each book is a two-year process, one year of writing, one year of waiting. For my latest book, A Deadly Twist, the unanticipated intervention of the pandemic added another year to the process, delaying publication until April 6, 2021. But I like to think the wait’s been worth it.

TNH: How has the pandemic affected your work?

JS: The pandemic had no effect upon my book coming out in April, because I finished A Deadly Twist long before the days of COVID-19. That said, I decided not to modify it to reflect the attendant gloom that hangs over the universe, because it’s about Naxos, an island occupying a special place in my heart and deserving of a testament to better times and memories.

My quandary is over the book I’m working on for 2022. I don’t see how a novel set in contemporary times can avoid the reach of the pandemic, particularly a police procedural mystery-thriller. Imagine a world where eyewitness identifications are left to describing the mask worn by the perpetrator snuggly below a tight-fitting head covering, and fingerprints disappear beneath hospital gloves openly worn as a sign of compliance with public health concerns, while police struggle with whether to confront, transport, and interrogate a coughing feverish suspect.

But those are petty stylistic concerns. Let’s cut to the chase. No matter how well-written or ingenious an author’s tale may be, who will want to read about the very thing they’re desperately seeking to escape? We’re too close to the flames of this wildfire to think anytime soon about toasting marshmallows.

TNH: What made you decide on Naxos for the setting this time?

JS: Over the past thirty-five years I’d taken many a day trip to Naxos with my free-diving buddies. But in 2018, my wife and I visited for a week, and immediately fell in love with everything about the place. Friendly welcoming people, dramatic colorful history, a fiercely independent spirit, and magical breathtaking landscapes abound on this largest and greenest of the Cycladic islands. But what sold me on setting A Deadly Twist there is the serious societal issue I pictured playing out as the background for my plot. All my books cover such an issue, and on Naxos I found the perfect locale for a subject I’d Iong sought to address, namely the universal dilemma facing virtually every desirable destination on earth– simmering conflicts between advocates seeking to maximize tourism and defenders fervent to protect the old ways.

TNH: What can fans of Chief Inspector Kaldis look forward to in this book?

JS: I strive in all my novels to offer great characters, an intriguing story line, and a wonderful setting, in order that regular readers will feel like they’re visiting with old friends, and travel buffs will be enchanted.

Here’s my brief take on what’s happening within the pages of A Deadly Twist:

Athens journalist Nikoletta Elia is sent on assignment to the island of Naxos to report on the conflict between preservationists and advocates for expanded tourism. Nikoletta is approached there by a fan of her reporting who takes credit for several suspicious deaths she’d reported on in the past. The assassin claims to have abandoned that life and convinces Nikoletta to write about him and his murderous exploits for hire.

After publication of his story, Nikoletta disappears, and an unidentified body is found at the base of a cliff next to her hotel. Nikoletta’s editor calls on Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis to investigate and Kaldis dispatches his deputy, Yianni, to Naxos. Who is the mysterious corpse, and where is Nikoletta? Leads turn into more dead bodies in this twisting tale of greed, corruption, and murder that puts Kaldis, his family, and members of his team in the path of a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to keep dark secrets buried— forever.

TNH: What are you working on next?

JS: It’s been a busy year. I wrote a non-Kaldis standalone that I’ve been meaning to write for a half-dozen years.

I’m almost finished with Kaldis #12— yet untitled but set on Ikaria.

And I’m looking forward to all the fun times to come in connection with a recently signed agreement for the screen adaptation of my Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series. The producers plan on taking viewers to exotic locations all over Greece, with Kaldis exposing the seedy underbelly of white-washed Greek Isles, and pursuing hard-hitting cases that run head on through a mix of contemporary international politics and Greece’s ancient past.

A Deadly Twist by Jeffrey Siger is available for pre-order online and will be in bookstores on April 6.

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