The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou: The dark and addictive 2023 BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick that's inspired by a true crime case (Paperback)

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The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou: The dark and addictive 2023 BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick that's inspired by a true crime case By Eleni Kyriacou Cover Image
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**Selected for BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club 2023**

'Tense. Moving. Morally complex. Zina Pavlou is wholly unforgettable.' Rachel Rhys
'Impressive... worthy of Sarah Waters' The Times


London, 1954. Zina Pavlou, a Cypriot grandmother, waits quietly in the custody of the Metropolitan police. She can't speak their language, but she understands what their wary looks mean: she has been accused of the brutal murder of her daughter-in-law.

Eva Georgiou, Greek interpreter for the Met, knows how it feels to be voiceless as an immigrant woman. While she works as Zina's translator, her obsession with the case deepens, and so too does her bond with the accused murderer.

Zina can't speak for herself. She can't clear her own name. All she can do is wait for the world to decide.


'Kyriacou has drawn such a rich cast in this enthralling and wholly original novel' Clare Mackintosh
'Hugely powerful... One of the best books you'll read this year' Emma Christie
'Absolute page-turner' Louise Hare
'Immersive, gripping, authentic' Erin Kelly
'Chilling, gripping' Nikki Smith
'More than just a true crime story... speaks so movingly about the experience of being an immigrant' Red
'Complex and fascinating... tragic and compelling' Guardian
'Will stay with me a long, long time' Louise Fein
'A superb piece of writing... never less tough than it needs to be' Morning Star

About the Author

Eleni Kyriacou is an award-winning editor and journalist. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, Grazia, and Red, among others. She's the daughter of Greek Cypriot immigrant parents, and her debut novel, She Came To Stay, was published in 2020. Her latest novel, The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou, is inspired by the true-crime story of the penultimate woman to be executed in Britain. Follow her on @EleniKWriter and

Praise For…

“Based on a true crime, this is a brilliantly crafted story of two women, Zina the accused and Eva her translator. So evocative of 1950s London and an absolute page-turner.” —Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

“Immersive, gripping, authentic: the kind of historical fiction that has the reader looking up from the page, astonished to find themselves in the 21st Century. Zina will stay with me for a long, long time.” —Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

“Impressive . . . [Kyriacou's] evocation of postwar London and the benighted attitudes of its citizens is worthy of Sarah Waters” —The Times

“The grime and glamour of 1950s London comes to life in this atmospheric and gripping novel . . . Speaks so movingly about the experience of being an immigrant” —Red, Best Books of November

“A complex and fascinating portrait of the immigrant experience in postwar Britain, and a tragic and compelling tale” —The Guardian

“A poignant study of the relationship between the two women” —The Sunday TImes

“Tense. Moving. Morally complex. Zina Pavlou is part monster, part victim and wholly unforgettable.” —Rachel Rhys, author of Dangerous Crossing

“A hugely powerful book. Beautifully written characters and a gripping story that's at times agonisingly tense, at others deeply moving. You'll be thinking about this book for weeks after you finish reading. Easily one of the best books you'll read this year.” —Emma Christie, author of The Silent Daughter

“A masterclass on writing character – Zina and Eva will stay with me a long, long time . . . I found the book impossible to put down.” —Louise Fein, author of People Like Us

“You know those books where you read a bit and then you have to stop to do life stuff but the characters are still in your head and you can't wait to get back to it? This is one of those and it's brilliant.” —Frances Quinn, author of The Smallest Man

“An incredibly powerful story of two women and the tragedy that destroys them both. Chilling, gripping and a story that stayed with me long after I'd finished the book.” —Nikki Smith, author of All In Her Head

“A gripping true-crime drama . . . Kyriacou's complex, perceptive and moving narrative brings these devastating events vividly to life.” —Philippa East, author of Little White Lies

“Eleni Kyriacou is a writer of immense talent and she handles this complex, passionate subject matter with stunning results. A captivating and important story written by an author at the top of her game.” —Victoria Dowd, author of The Smart Woman's Guide to Murder

“Storytelling of the highest order, and a fascinating re-imagining of a real-life case from the 1950s. A really powerful novel.” —Leonora Nattrass, author of Black Drop

“A terrific re-imagining of a historical true crime case, Eleni Kyriacou has a real knack of bringing the fifties back to life, mixing glamour and grime in perfect proportion to produce a gripping thriller.” —Trevor Wood, author of The Man on the Street

“Brilliant! As heartbreaking as it is compelling, exploring shocking times in our not-too-distant past. I'll be thinking about it for a long time. And what a page-turner!” —Charlotte Levin, author of If I Can't Have You

“A story masterfully told with complex characters.” —Clare Whitfield, author of People of Abandoned Character

“Prepare to become obsessed with Zina Pavlou! I was hooked by this story from the start. Gorgeously dark, gorgeously addictive, a rich and very moving mystery written with elegance and aplomb.” —Louise Mumford, author of Sleepless

“Eleni Kyriacou has a gift for capturing time and place perfectly while captivating the reader with her convincing and memorable characters. An excellent and emotional page turner.” —Jenny Quintana, author of The Missing girl

“Kyriacou writes so movingly of the diaspora Cypriot experience, without shying away from the dark, the seedy, the criminal . . . It is an extraordinary achievement to humanise a woman accused of not one but two brutal murders of family members; that Kyriacou does so while honouring the fictional (and real-life) victims is remarkable. This is a haunting and intensely compassionate book with complex, compelling characters who will stay with me for a very long time.” —Nikki Marmery, author of On Wilder Seas

“Stunning. Eleni Kyriacou brilliantly evokes the true case of the second from last woman to be hung in a fictionalised account that will have the reader equally gripped and outraged.” —Tom Benjamin, author of A Quiet Death in Italy

“Historical Fiction full of suspense and woven with brio!” —Ellen Alpsten, author of Tsarina

“Dark, gripping, utterly brilliant. Everyone needs to know this story.” —Susan Allott, author of The Silence

“A gripping historical crime thriller that immerses you in smoky 1950s London. I stayed up to 2am to finish it because I had to know the conclusion.” —Penny Batchelor, author of My Perfect Sister

“Chilling and compelling, a darkly compulsive novel that brings to life 1950s London.” —Zoë Somerville, author of The Night of the Flood

The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou is a gripping read . . . I enjoyed every minute of this book. A truly wonderful read.” —Nydia Hetherington, author of A Girl Made of Air

“An absorbing tale of race and class, discrimination and prejudice . . . It will be a long time before I can get Zina Pavlou out of my head.” —Sam Baker, author of The Shift

“A propulsive and fascinating story that hooked me from the very first page. Kyriacou's writing is confident and assured. I loved it.” —Nicola Gill, author of The Neighbours

“A compelling, nuanced and incredibly moving story showing the double standards and judgments directed at women. Loved it!” —Caroline Bishop, author of The Other Daughter

“Telling a tale of murder and betrayal” —World of Cruising

“You'll be hooked” —Peterborough Evening Telegraph

“So evocative of the 1950s, highlighting the norms of casual racism and misogyny... beautifully written” —TripFiction

“Moving, tense and morally haunting, this 1950s true-crime thriller centred on two women from the Greek diaspora sees a court interpreter become emotionally enmeshed in a murder case” —LoveReading

“A superb piece of writing, delicate, subtle, never disrespectful to anyone involved, but also never less tough than it needs to be” —Morning Star

Product Details
ISBN: 9781837930364
ISBN-10: 1837930368
Publisher: Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book
Publication Date: October 8th, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English