Head of Zeus snaps up ‘hugely moving’ immigrant’s tale from Kyriacou in two-book deal



Head of Zeus has snapped up The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou, an historical crime novel from Eleni Kyriacou, in a two-book deal.

Acquiring editor Peyton Stableford won world all-language rights from Abi Fellows at the Good Literary Agency. The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou will be published on 9th November. 

“This is a powerful, hugely moving story, reclaimed from history and brought to light with Eleni’s trademark flair for capturing place and era,” said Fellows. “I am thrilled that Eleni has a home at Head of Zeus. The themes of alienation through language and the treatment of immigrants still resonate today, sadly, making this an important as well as a richly entertaining read.”

The novel is inspired by the true story of the penultimate woman to be sentenced to death in Britain. The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou follows Eva Georgiou, a Greek interpreter for the Metropolitan Police, who must represent Zina Pavlou, a Cypriot woman charged with murdering her daughter-in-law. The publisher continued: “As the case progresses, Zina changes everything when she reveals she’s been accused of murder once before, years ago in Cyprus. While Eva’s obsession with the case deepens, so does her bond with Zina. And soon she will discover how lending your voice to an accused murderer can come at a devastating cost.”

Kyriacou said: “I’m so happy to be working with the Head of Zeus team. I stumbled upon this story by chance and I’m astounded that everyone knows about Ruth Ellis but this Cypriot woman who was sentenced to death just six months earlier has been forgotten. The press hated her, the prosecution called her names, and everyone seemed to have decided on her guilt before she even took the stand. But what had led her to this place and how did she come to be in the Old Bailey fighting for her life?”

Stableford added: “I’m so thrilled to be publishing The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou, a stunning novel from the brilliant Eleni Kyriacou. Telling Zina’s story through the lens of a Greek translator for the Met Police is such a unique angle—one I’ve yet to come across—and really drives home the themes of family loyalty, mental health and the ways that language can both empower and disempower. Readers will be enraptured by the brave and layered women at the heart of this story and gripped by the trial they’ve embroiled themselves in  and true crime fans, especially, will find it and the case it’s inspired by haunting.”