Budapest, February 12, 1985. In the bitter cold, the river freezes over and a prophecy that sounds like a croak marks the birth of Janos: ‘bad seed, bad tidings’. Twenty-seven years later, the man who the oracle confirmed as ‘Janos the Hungarian’ is arrested in Athens as the chief suspect in the murder of famous painter Miltos Andrianos. Could this be another crime typical of the sex intrigues of male prostitution rings? Journalist Stratos Papadopoulos begins to unravel the thread of history, delving into the lives of other people, whose paths sometimes lead to and cross in the margins of Athens’ new reality. Amongst the key figures in this mystery: a 60-year-old widow involved in a love affair with the Hungarian man, his wife, with whom he has a son, the offspring of a powerful political family associated with the painter, a secretive police officer and a shady figure from the underworld. In Stavros Christodoulou’s novel, no one seems above suspicion, while the truth is hidden, as always, in the details. As the mystery unfolds, the grey waters of the Danube carry away the stories of those whose only desire was to be loved.
Stavros Christodoulou was born in 1963 in Nicosia, Cyprus. He studied law in Athens but has never practiced the legal profession since he had already dedicated himself to journalism at the end of the 1980s. He has worked as managing director of various magazines in Greece and Cyprus and currently works for the leading Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros as a columnist. His first book Hotel National, published by Kalentis Publications in Athens in 2016, was shortlisted for the Cyprus State Literature Prize and for a competition run by the literary magazine Hourglass. His second book, The Day the River Froze, published by Kastaniotis Editions in Athens in 2018, received the Cyprus State Literature Prize and the European Literature Prize 2020.