For some time I have been trying to remember the name and author of a book I read when I was around 13 years old, in the 1960’s. I believe the book would have been written in the 1950’s or early 1960’s, although maybe it was earlier from the 1940’s. I borrowed it from the public library in town.
It was by a male author who also wrote adult mysteries. My father recognized the author’s name and so also read this book and we talked and joked about it a little bit that year.
The plot is generally, that there is a boy, (young teen?) whose father is either a doctor or professor or archeologist ,who must speak Greek, because he is called in to talk to a patient who speaks ancient Greek. The patient says that he is from Greece (somewhere in ancient Greece, only to him it is the current and only one). Apparently he died and was sent out across the River Styx and ended up in a hospital or a mental institution in England, I believe.
So he wasn’t really dead when he was sent on his journey to the afterlife. As the father and the patient talk, the father and the son decide to go with the patient to retrace his journey and find the ancient Greek outpost that has somehow survived into the the 20th century. They find it and although I still can visualize this place, surrounded by mountains and cut off from the modern world, I cannot remember the ending of the book either.
I remember odd lines and scenes from the book. For example, the son has decided to read the Bible front to back and reflects upon some of the odd customs and the many battles in the Old Testament. Also, one of the things the patient says is that he prefers to clean himself by stepping into a basin of water and not the contraption where you pull on a chain and you are rained upon.
I have looked at many of the mystery authors of the time and have tried to see if they wrote such a book to no avail. I also looked in the Public Library where I grew up but it was too overwhelming and there is a good chance that book is not only out of print but was put into one of their many book sales years ago.
I cannot remember the title. Did it have “Zeus” in it somewhere? Did it refer to the river Styx? Did it have some cute title like the Greek Urn Cracked? The title must have captured my attention.
I appreciate your help with this as periodically I become obsessed with finding it.