Alexandros Papadiamantis (1851-1911) was born and raised on the Aegean island of Skiathos, the setting not only of The Murderess but of many of his short stories, literary sketches, and novels. His mother was a descendent of an established local family and his father was a Greek Orthodox priest. As a young man, Papadiamantis spent seven months in a monastery and studied philosophy at the University of Athens before taking up a career as a journalist and translator. He enjoyed popular success as the author of historical adventure novels like The Gypsy Girl (1884), which were serialized in daily newspapers, but it was not until he turned to writing short stories and novellas that he gained critical recognition. Though a heavy drinker and smoker, Papadiamantis was devout, poor, and solitary, known as the saint of modern Greek literature. He lived in Athens rooming houses until 1908, when he returned to Skiathos. Two years later, he died of pneumonia.
To be born poor and female on the wretched Aegean island of Skiathos is a fate worse than death, or so old Hadoula has come to believe. In this beautiful and astonishing novella, the father of modern Greek fiction shows what happens when she takes matters—literally—into her own hands.