The Naxos Mysteries book series

The Naxos Mysteries book series

The Naxos Mysteries books are deeply rooted in the island of Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, and in the art, antiquity and archaeology of Greece. They have been described as “Victoria Hislop’s love of Greece meets the Sicilian mysteries of Inspector Montalbano”. They begin when archaeologist Martin Day buys a house on Naxos; he is a sociable man who has fled from academia to enjoy an easy life in the idyllic Aegean. He loves Greek cuisine and the occasional gin or glass of wine. Occasionally rather self-absorbed and acutely aware of his impending middle-age, Day has a lot to learn about relationships, but he has an excellent brain, some good friends and, as he comes to learn, no lack of courage. He is not deterred by the kind of challenges which confront him rather regularly on this peaceful, law-abiding island, nor by the risks he runs in getting to the heart of the matter (or indeed, the murder) in which he becomes involved.

The Naxos Mysteries, Book 1

Martin Day has recently bought a house in Filoti village on Naxos where he plans to focus on writing about the late Nikos Elias, a local historian, and enjoy everything that beautiful Naxos has to offer: a warm welcome, wonderful cuisine and an unbroken link with the ancient past. His platonic friend Helen Aitchison joins him for the summer to work on her latest novel, and her arrival completes his happiness. Then Michael Moralis, an American whom Day once knew quite well, is found murdered in his Naxos hotel. Day goes to the local police with what information he can offer, and is then drawn into an intrigue far more involved than he could ever have imagined. He comes to suspect that the existence of an ancient site on Naxos, which many people would do almost anything to find, may be connected with his friend’s death.

“Throughout the novel, the author lovingly describes the beauty and atmosphere of Naxos. She deftly ties together twenty years of greed, violence, madness, and love among those caught up in the quest for a lost Mycenaean burial site. She offers up a modern Greek tragedy, one in which good intentions are ruined and noble characters are destroyed by obsession, pride, and deceit.” 

William Gresen, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Centre, Book Reviews.

The Naxos Mysteries, Book 2

Edward Childe, an eighty-year old English academic, visits Martin Day on Naxos and tells him the story of his first and only love. The beautiful Artemis, whom he met as a student at the archaeological site of Brauron, left him one morning without explanation, and yet Edwaed seems to love her still. He is now looking forward to meeting Artemis’s granddaughter, as well as working with Day on a project about Greek marble and spending some time with his old friend on Naxos, the renowned sculptor Konstantinos Saris. When Edward appears to have committed suicide less than a week later, Day suspects murder, and when Konstantinos in his turn becomes the victim of violence, it is necessary for somebody to take action. Day does not shy away from a challenge.

“The mystery is engaging and perplexing, but much of the delight in reading “The Naxos Mysteries” is the lovingly-rendered portrait of the Cycladic Islands presented by the author. The wonderfully evocative descriptions of life on Naxos, whether it be the beauty of a sunset over the Aegean Sea or the rustic cuisine and libations, add immeasurably to the pleasure of reading these mysteries.”

William Gresen, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Centre, Book Reviews.


The Naxos Mysteries, Book 3

Martin Day’s friend Nick Kiloziglou is commissioned to restore one of Naxos’s Venetian towers. In a hiding-place within it he finds a horse-shaped bronze figurine dating from the middle of the 8th century BCE. The Di Quercia Tower itself is only three hundred years old, suggesting that somebody had hidden the little figurine within its ruins. Before work can commence on the restoration, a wild fire near the tower provides a distraction from this puzzle: a body is found beneath its high parapet. The police arrest Ben Lear on suspicion of murder; Ben is the nearest thing Day has to a brother. His efforts to prove his friend innocent are further complicated when the woman he turns to for information also offers him intimacy.

“As with the earlier Martin Day adventures, the mystery and its solving seem at times almost secondary to the lovely and lyrical hymn to the beauty of the Greek island that figures so prominently in these novels – the rugged yet fertile landscape of Naxos, its ancient ruins and long stretches of beach, and the delightful portrayal of taverna life and cuisine.”  

William Gresen, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Centre, Book Reviews.

The Naxos Mysteries, Book 4

Martin Day is on his way to one of the best hotels on Naxos to meet a woman with whom he had a special relationship decades ago. Ophelia Blue was not only his university tutor, she was also his lover. Now she is on Naxos and wants him to resolve a puzzle for her. After a wonderful evening, during which she does not tell him what her question might be, she vanishes without trace. She has, however, left him with a path to follow, if only he has learned enough from her to follow the trail. Day suspects that Ophelia’s ‘mystery’ is connected to the Greek antiquity which they both adore, but more than anything he hopes to discover the reason for her disappearance, and to find Ophelia herself. What he discovers is indeed rooted in the past, and in finding it Day finds himself in a very tight place from which he fears he might not escape.

“Another excellent book in the Martin Day series. The author’s extensive knowledge and love of Naxos, Greek history and culture all shine through, and the vivid descriptions transport the reader to the wonderful setting of the Greek island.”
Claire Gates

“Vanessa Gordon has an incredible knack of mixing beautifully crafted descriptions of her beloved Naxos with an intriguing storyline.”  
Jean Polyzoides

The Naxos Mysteries, Book 5

The luxury yacht Alkyoni, owned by shipping magnate Theodoros Kakouris, has arrived at Naxos in time for the Festival of Cycladic Wine. On board is international art dealer Pierre Ridgeway. Both men are suspected of trading in ancient Greek artefacts, and Martin Day is asked to help the antiquities fraud police in their investigation. He is ideally placed to do so, as he is due to give a series of talks on Greek pottery for the magnate’s brother-in-law at the Villa Myrsini on Naxos. At the first of his talks he comes to know his audience individually, including the magnate and the art dealer, but he finds himself among the suspects when that same audience begin to die. The question in his mind is whether the murders are connected to the yacht Alkyoni, or to the family at the Villa Myrsini whom he has grown to like, and suddenly his friendship with Chief Inspector Andreas Nomikos only complicates his situation.

“Between Vanessa Gordon and Victoria Hislop’s new novels this year we are in for a treat.”
L. Yacoumopoulou

“Needs to be read by anyone who likes meandering though the narrow streets of the Cycladic islands, and learning on the way.”
Jean Polyzoides


A Greek Feast on Naxos is a full-colour celebration of the cuisine of Naxos from the author of The Naxos Mysteries. It includes recipes from Greek chefs, including Yannis Vassilas from Axiotissa Restaurant on Naxos, the renowned Aglaia Kremezi, and residents of Naxos and neighbouring Paros. Helpful suggestions are given for creating the dishes outside Greece, the unique ingredients of the region are described in an amusing anecdotal style, and culinary specialities are featured, from the renowned local liqueur Kitron to the sun-dried fish “gouna”. The book explains which herbs to grow at home for an authentic Greek flavour, and where to go on Naxos to experience a culinary treat. Not least, A Greek Feast on Naxos also features a short story in The Naxos Mysteries series, in which readers will learn the answer to an outstanding mystery while enjoying a real Greek feast in a sensational venue on Naxos.

“I have also included some little extras for you, including snippets about the food and drink of Naxos, food-related excerpts from the books, and a little tour of Naxos which you can try out when you visit. It includes places to stop and eat!”   VG

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