The 83-year-old writer lived alone in an apartment on Zakynthou street in Kypseli. Police say there were no signs of forced entry in the house, but there is evidence that the place had been selectively searched and suspect the victim knew the perpetrator, who had the intention of robbing the house.
The writer’s body was found with face and head contusions but police believe that the cause of death was either asphyxiation by a pillow found next to the victim, or heart attack caused by the shock of the assault. Estimated time of death is 1 a.m. An autopsy is expected to determine the cause of death on Monday.
Authorities are looking for a man who they suspect met with Koumandareas Friday night. Earlier that night, the writer was with a friend at a nearby coffee shop and at some point he excused himself to run up to his apartment to take his medication. He left the coffee shop but never returned.
His friend found the excuse strange because Koumandareas always carried his medication with him. After a while, he got worried and went up to the writer’s apartment to see if he was well. No one answered the door so he called some other people and a locksmith. When the locksmith opened the door, they found the dead body.
Menis Koumandareas was born in Athens in 1931. He wrote numerous books and earned several awards for his prose. He was an active proponent of the resistance against the 1967-1974 military dictatorship. He received Greece’s prestigious National Writing Award for “The Glass Factory” in 1976 and for “Twice a Greek” in 2002. His most popular book was “The Jersey with Number Nine” in 1986 that was made into a movie.
He was also a prolific translator and one of the founding members of the Greek Authors’ Society.