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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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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


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

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


paperback | hardcover (US)
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:

  

« Cheney, Annie: Body Brokers | Main | Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The Hades Project »

Adler, Elizabeth: Meet Me in Venice

  

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St. Martin's © 2007, 384 pages [amazon]
4 stars

Precious (Preshy) Rafferty and her cousin Lily Swan have never met. Both women happen to own antique stores, but they have little else in common. Precious is an American living in Paris, single but surrounded by supportive friends and family. Lily is Shanghainese, and she is wed to her work, driven by her desire for wealth after having grown up in poverty. She supplements her income by trading in stolen antiquities, a dangerous business that involves handing wads of cash over to hoodlums in the middle of the night. She has few friends, and the person she most relies on, her assistant Mary-Lou Chen, proves to have been poorly chosen. The lives of these three women, Preshy, Lily, and Mary-Lou, are all affected in the course of Elizabeth Adler's novel by one particular antique--a necklace whose pearl was stolen from the grave of the Dowager Empress of China--and by the charming sociopath, Bennett Yuan, who will do anything to get his hands on it.

[INSET TEXT: She supplements her income by trading in stolen antiquities, a dangerous business that involves handing wads of cash over to hoodlums in the middle of the night.] Meet Me in Venice may not be the best book you'll read this year. Adler's villains are two-dimensional, and she tends to spill her characters' back story onto the page without great subtlety.

"While Lily's father played the tables, her mother attempted to make a living selling cheap copies of antiques. Somehow the family scraped by. When she was sixteen her father died and Lily left school and took over the business. Her mother died five years later. Lily was alone in the world with no one to rely on but herself."

I found references to Preshy's friend Daria's "Super Kid" cringe-inducing. And I wondered at Adler's decision to give her main character the name "Precious": it is so unusual that one cannot help but be reminded of another literary Precious, Mme Ramotswe of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. (It's rather like naming a character "Sherlock." You're certain to distract readers by calling to mind that other Sherlock.)

I came away from Adler's novel, however, reminded  of how delightful an escape reading can be. Meet Me in Venice is a solid romantic mystery, light on character, perhaps, but with a decent plot. Adler makes you root for her protagonists and boo her bad guys and hope that the right people wind up together in the end. I'm glad I read it.

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Comments

1.

Ouch... it's always sad to hear of such a lack of depth. Still, like you said, sometimes it's just what you need for a bit of escapist fun!

2.

Hi, Heather. Thanks for stopping by!

3.

Looks like a good gift for Christmas 2010.

4.

Wow this looks like it could be a really gripping novel! I was thinking about just getting my mom a classic bouquet for her birthday, but maybe I should include this book with the flowers. My mom always says that her three favorite things are flowers, chocolates, and books.

5.

Wow, the title caught my eye since I live in Venice, but I guess it would make for a light read this summer on Lido beach. Sad to hear that there are certain clauses where the author didn't go into detail, but I appreciate to-the-point clauses if the rest of the mystery is well laid out.




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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.