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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


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


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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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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Levine, Paul: Trial & Error

  Amazon  

4 stars

Trial & Error is the fourth installment in Paul Levine's Solomon vs. Lord series of courtroom cozies. (See my reviews of Solomon vs. Lord, Deep Blue Alibi, and Kill All the Lawyers.) Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are perfect opposites: she's Ivy League and Versace, he's street smart and sneakers, but they get along well enough to share living quarters as well as a legal practice. Rounding out their domestic circle is Steve's semi-autistic twelve-year-old nephew Bobby, whose social awkwardness is compensated for by an impressive intellect and near-perfect memory--not to mention a wicked fast ball. The protagonists' respective single parents--Steve's father, disgraced retired judge Herbert T. Solomon, and Victoria's self-absorbed, society matron mother Irene--take a back seat in this outing, appearing only briefly in back-to-back chapters to offer their advice on the legal duo's personal and professional lives.

There's something fishy about the case on Steve and Victoria's plate this time around--both literally and figuratively. A plot by a bunch of animal rights activists to set free a pair of dolphins ends badly, specifically, in felony murder. As it happens, both Bobby and Steve are on the scene--Bobby because he's become obsessed with dolphins, Steve because Bobby snuck out of the house in the middle of the night to commune with the mammals. But the details of the case don't quite add up, and Steve is forced to figure things out largely without the help of his partner: Victoria, deputized for the purpose by the State Attorney, is prosecuting Steve's client on this one. Can Steve and Victoria's relationship survive their stint as opposing counsel? Can they, as the author puts it, successfully "litigate by day and copulate by night"?

Paul Levine gives us a tightly plotted and interesting mystery in Trial & Error, and he has at the same time removed some of the over-the-top cartoonishness that had been creeping into the series. Meanwhile, Steve and Victoria's relationship progresses just a bit more along the path to happily ever after. And a secondary story involving Bobby, bullies, and baseball is laced deftly into the narrative. The success of the book's denouement hinges on our accepting that Bobby has learned how to communicate with the dolphins at the story's center. This seems far-fetched, but not impossible, so I was able happily to suspend disbelief. A satisfying quick read.

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