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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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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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Dicks, Matthew: Something Missing

  Amazon  

5 stars

Matthew Dicks' Something Missing is an unusual book, in a good way. The story's unexpected hero is Martin, a brilliant but socially awkward thirty-something whose preternaturally acute attention to detail is a great asset in his career. Martin has a stable of clients--upper-middle-class married couples without young children, dogs, or alarm systems--from whose houses he regularly "acquires" things, a pound of hamburger here, a few cups of laundry detergent there. And every now and again, very occasionally, he'll pick up the odd piece of jewelry. Martin approaches his larceny like a business, indeed, like a particularly well-run business. He carefully tracks what's in his clients' cabinets so as to know what items are in stock and can be safely acquired.

Martin is one of the most interesting characters I've ever run across: he's Adrian Monk without the crippling phobias, Tom Ripley with a conscience. And it's his conscience that provides the storyline, as Martin's unusual familiarity with his clients' personal lives puts him in the position of being able to render them anonymous assistance in a series of predicaments, increasingly more serious and more dangerous. The whole business, which starts with the smallest interruption of Martin's otherwise very strict routine--the merest flap of a butterfly's wings--leads to a drastic change in his circumstances. He emerges at the end of the story a changed man.

Much of Something Missing is spent describing Martin's modus operandi. I suppose some readers out there will find these lengthy descriptions slow going, but to my mind they are not only required to build Martin's character, but they are utterly fascinating. This is a great, great read. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Comments

1.

I just resolved to buy no more books and now I read this, dammit. I'm going to have to buy it because I think this character frequently visits my home (on account of the things that go missing) and I obviously need to find out how he operates so I can catch him in the act.

Thanks for the (non-)stalking recommendation too.

2.

Hah. Sorry about that, Clare :) Actually, it's not really a bad thing to have Martin coming into your home, so if he visits you, that's okay.

Does this mean you're back already from your tour? Was that seagull you were trying to sell a book to the last of it?

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