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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.


Books by Debra Hamel:

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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Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

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


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

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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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Twain, Mark: A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

In 1876 Mark Twain proposed to William Dean Howells, the editor of the Atlantic Monthly, that a number of authors including Twain himself each write a story--"'blindfolded' as to what the others had written"--based on the same skeleton plot, which Twain would devise. In the end the idea came to nothing, or almost nothing, because Howells never managed to interest other authors in taking on the task. But Twain did write his own contribution to the project. His A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage is a curious story about a greedy farmer's attempts to line his pockets by marrying his daughter off to a wealthy suitor. The farmer's plot is complicated, however, by his estranged brother's will and by the appearance in town, under unusual circumstances, of a multilingual stranger. The mystery--there is, after all, a murder in the tale--is laid to rest in Twain's final chapter with the unlikely introduction of Jules Verne into the story. Twain never published his novella, and part of the manuscript was lost for more than a hundred years. It appeared in print for the first time in 2001.

The Norton paperback of A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage includes four facsimile pages of Twain's manuscript and is beautifully illustrated with watercolors by Peter de Sève. In a brief foreword and a nearly forty-page afterword, Roy Blount Jr. discusses the history of the manuscript and places the story in the larger context of Twain's more familiar work and the politics of the day. It is not the most interesting of essays, but Twain fans who are sufficiently familiar with his oeuvre and with mid-nineteenth-century politics may appreciate it.

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