|Would you trust these people?|
So this week we're talking about trust. Trust is a pretty tough subject for your average PI. The job description generally calls for dealing with shifty characters who lie to the detective, cheat on each other and steal valuable stuff. And those are the ones who turn out to be innocent.
But at least one of them's a killer. More likely than not the killer will take a crack at murdering our hero as he zeroes in on the miscreant.
So trust is not a major component of the PI business.
The charming Rebecca Cantrell, who I trust, sent me a list of questions for this week. But they apply to fellow bloggers, and I'm a visitor, so allow me to answer these for my hero, Nicolaos, the only investigating agent in ancient Athens. He works for an up-and-coming young politician by the name of Pericles.
Who would turn you in?
Pretty much anyone for half a drachma. This is Greece, after all, and modern jokes about bankers and Greek debt aside, their reputation for larceny goes back thousands of years.
There was a for-real case once when a Spartan army turned up outside the city walls of Athens. Pericles said he'd take care of it. He wandered over to the enemy camp with a bag of 12,000 coins. He returned without the bag. The Spartan army commander ordered his troops march home.
At the end of the financial year, Pericles entered this massive expenditure in the state accounts as for "necessary purposes". For years afterwards, when an Athenian spent some dubious sum, he would tell his friends he'd spent it on "special purposes", and then they'd all roll about the floor laughing.
Who would know but not tell?
It's pretty much guaranteed that witnesses who withhold vital information will die before they get a chance to recant and tell. This seems to be a law of the universe as rock solid as the law of conservation of momentum.
Who is your partner in crime?
Nico has a partner in crime. Diotima, an annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis. That's them on the cover image. Diotima was a real historical person, a genius who is mentioned by Plato, and one of the three most brilliant women of her century. My version of Diotima has a tendency to blackmail people. I wouldn't trust her if I were you.
Who is your first victim?
My first victim, as in, the first person I ever killed in print, was a real historical person named Ephialtes. He's largely forgotten these days, but Ephialtes created the world's first democratic parliament. Incredibly, a few days later, he was assassinated. That happened for real!
Who will be the police officer who comes to arrest you?
No police in ancient Athens! Justice is a do-it-yourself business. The closest male relative of any victim was expected to prosecute a murder.
Who will be your lawyer?
That's easy. Pericles, who we remember as a statesman, appeared in court on any number of occasions. And being one of the greatest orators ever, he tended to win.