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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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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
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Pall, Ellen: Corpse de Ballet

  Amazon  

3 stars

In Corpse de Ballet, the first installment in the Nine Muses Mystery series by Ellen Pall, historical romance novelist Juliet Bodine is called on to act as muse herself. When an old college friend, choreographer Ruth Renswick, asks for Juliet's advice on the staging of a ballet of Great Expectations, the former professor of English literature finds herself a regular observer of the Jansch Repertory Ballet Troupe's rehearsals--and an observer as well of the rivalries and romances that animate the dancers. But an accident involving the hyper-sexual dancer playing Pip leads Juliet to suspect that someone is out to sabotage her friend's production by injuring, or worse, its male lead.

While lovers of dance will enjoy amateur sleuth Juliet Bodine's immersion in the world of professional dance, others may find the lengthy descriptions of the choreography of Great Expectations slow going. The book's plot is likewise on the slow side (as if often true of cozies), its character and culture intended to carry the book forward rather than any thrills. By the end of the book Juliet has become likeable enough, a character whom some readers may want to revisit in further episodes, but I was not immediately drawn to her. (I would have been happier, too, without as intimate a knowledge of her pudendal maladies: "On the minus side, however, she was--was she?--a bit raw about the netherbones. On Monday morning, she was definitely itchy. Yeast infection, she diagnosed. She ate a container of yogurt for breakfast and another for lunch, then crossed her fingers. And her legs.") My chief problem, however, was with the character of Ruth Renswick. I found it difficult to believe that this successful, driven choreographer would require Juliet's hand-holding so pathetically and for so long a period, especially considering that the help Juliet provided over the course of weeks of attendance at the rehearsals was minimal.

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