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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


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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


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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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McNair, Cici: Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts

  Amazon  

4 stars

In her book Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts, Cici McNair introduces readers to her very unusual life. As the title suggests, she's a private detective (see Green Star Investigations), and stories about her experiences as a detective form the backbone of her memoir: her initial attempts to break into the business, stake-outs with guys with thick accents and foul mouths, investigations into counterfeit property or accusations of rape or lunchtime shenanigans, wearing a wire in the diamond district, in seedy warehouses, in a massage parlor. The author walks us through her role in a great many cases. It's fascinating, real-life stuff, the nitty gritty of detection, from paperwork to phone calls to the innumerable times the author has had to fake her way through a meeting to get information. She assumes an identity, swallows the information she'll need to pass herself off, and walks into a dangerous situation to lie her way through it and get her mark to say something incriminating on tape.

Woven through this main narrative are two equally interesting threads. The first has to do with the author's family: brothers and a sister whom an ex-homicide detective and friend of McNair's described as "the worst people I've ever met in my life"; Cici's mother, a likable, genteel Southern lady who was, however, abused during parts of her life; and the author's father, a menacing figure for whom an early death was insufficient reward. Finally there are the pre-detective days, which McNair spent rootless, traveling around the world and consorting with exciting characters--gun-runners and princes and the occasional fiancé. She's been suspected more than once in her life of working for the CIA, which is not the sort of thing that's said behind the back of your average suburban housewife.

McNair's book is--I'll use the word again--a fascinating read. It could have been a bit shorter: those descriptions of the guys she's worked with--and in particular, some of their dialogue--could have been cut back. (Readers should persevere if they're put off by this in the book's early chapters.) But I'm very happy to have read it.

Comments

1.

DEBRA---WHAT A REALLY, REALLY NICE REVIEW. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
i AM JUST READING IT NOW AND AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED MY BOOK.
ALL THE BEST, CICI

2.

I'm so glad you stumbled on it, Cici! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment :-)

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