Guide to SKOPJE


Inspector Kostas Haritos is a grumpy middle aged policeman, living in a small Athens apartment. He is fighting difficult homicide cases in a gloomy urban world.

detective haritos

About the Inspector

Haritos is neither a super-hero nor an anti-hero; he is the next-door man with a contradictory character. He opposes the corrupt system but would tip a public health physician for better treatment. His wife and daughter carry the most typical pathogenic features of a middle class family but are always on his side, which makes them important and interesting. He acts bored and tired when given orders but is committed into getting the job done. He uses his brains rather than violence –despite his admitted regretful experience as a policeman during the Colonels’ junta. For four novels we witness him successfully solving cases in Athens, while he curses the city traffic, tends to dislike all foreigners and is proud that his daughter is a lawyer engaged to a doctor.


Haritos in Istanbul

In the fifth novel (2008, English title: The Nanny), his wife Adriani convinces Haritos to take a holiday to Istanbul together. Officially bored by the tourist group, he is most genuinely happy with his acquaintance to the Istanbul cuisine. He realizes Istanbul traffic is worse than Athens but the Bosporus views make it all worthwhile. In a tavern near Taksim owned by a member of the city’s indigenous Greek community (Rum) he gets a first perspective of flavors and people in Istanbul and Athens.


Cultural comfort and enjoyment stops there and then for Haritos, when a total stranger that approaches him with a curious question eventually entangles him into an intriguing missing person case. An old woman disappeared from Drama (Greece) in fuzzy circumstance; she has origins in Trabzon (Turkey) and turns out to be a suspect for a murder in Istanbul. Haritos is called by his superior to take the case and report to the Istanbul police for collaboration. Progressively, the old woman leaves traces around Istanbul and indeed all the way to Trabzon on the Black Sea, killing different people on her way. Two countries with a bad record in politics, a history of traumatic population evictions and a tricky multi-murder case with potential diplomatic implications…

Who is this woman? Why does she kill? Is there a pattern or reason in her unusual way of killing? Haritos works with his appointed police partner Murat, a repatriated immigrant from Germany. Murat is liberal and hates old-fashioned ideas, prefers German cooking. His German-raised wife Nermin, a well-educated large company executive, wears a scarf by her own choice. The two policemen have to overcome their mutual mistrust. History and nationality that drove them apart at first are now bringing them together while they unravel the mystery.


The plot is exciting, full of agony with twists of subversive humor. In many ways, it gives us food for thought. Reading this well-written novel one doesn’t only get a view of the people that make up the mosaic that is Istanbul, learning a lot about its recent history and urban transformations. As it happens, we are given a key to understanding modern Turks and Greeks by meeting every single woman featuring in the story, their history, their interaction and their rights. The author is as always turning away from superficial appearances, looks shrewdly into the soul.

About the author


Petros Markaris was born in Istanbul into a Greek-Armenian family, studied in Vienna and settled permanently in Athens in 1964. He wrote his first theatre play in 1965, translated classic oeuvres of German theatre into Greek, wrote a number of short stories, TV series scripts and worked with movie director Theo Angelopoulos in the script of the “Suspended step of the stork” (1991). Since 1995 he introduced his popular character Inspector Haritos to an international public. His awarded books are translated in 14 languages and published in 20 countries, including Turkey. In his most recent novels (“The Crisis Trilogy”) the Inspector deals with crime and society in the crisis-hit Athens.

Learn more about Petros Markaris and his work at:

Sophia Nikolaou