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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Blanc, Nero: The Crossword Connection | Main | Wolitzer, Meg: The Wife »

Barnard, Robert: Death of a Mystery Writer

  

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Scribner & 2002, 192 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

Surly Sir Oliver Farleigh-Stubbs, the author of a string of commercially successful mysteries, revels in making life miserable for those around him. When a dinner party at a neighbor's house seems to be passing with too little discord, for example, the author enlivens the affair by making manifest his uncharitable opinion of the crumbed cutlet set before him:

"Oliver Farleigh sank into a mood of intense depression: he gazed at the cutlet as if it were a drowned friend whose remains he was trying to identify at a police morgue. He picked up a forkful of mashed potato, inspected it, smelled it, and finally, with ludicrously overdone reluctance, let it drop into his mouth, where he chewed it for fully three minutes before swallowing. Conversation flagged."

After the cutlet has been downed, Sir Oliver invites these same neighbors to his upcoming birthday celebration, a family gathering regarded with dread by all concerned, not as an act of kindness but so they may serve as "diversionary targets."

Given a lifetime, more or less, of his theatrical antisocial behavior, it is hardly surprising that Farleigh-Stubbs's death--he is murdered at the aforementioned birthday party--upsets virtually no one.Given a lifetime, more or less, of his theatrical antisocial behavior, it is hardly surprising that Farleigh-Stubbs's death--he is murdered at the aforementioned birthday party--upsets virtually no one. (The reading of his will is a more emotional affair for the principals.) But which of the author's myriad victims was incensed enough by his abuse to kill him? Well written, and with an appealing cast of characters, Death of a Mystery Writer is another fine whodunit from Robert Barnard.

(Interestingly, the last sentence of the book--or perhaps just the last, four-word phrase--seems as if it was tacked on as an afterthought, perhaps in response to someone's suggestion that the author's intent was not otherwise clear. But it was clear, and the ending would have been slightly stronger without the superfluous text.)

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.