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About the blogger:
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


Kindle | paperback (US)
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


Kindle | paperback (US)
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


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Book Notices | Ninth Square by Gorman Bechard / Outsider in Amsterdam by Janwillem van de Wetering / The Talented Mr. Varg by Alexander McCall Smith

Gorman Bechard, Ninth Square

  Amazon  

I came for the location: Ninth Square, written by fellow Connecticut native Gorman Bechard, is set in and around New Haven, and there are lots of local references beyond the expected Yale and pizza—Willoughby's, Toad's Place, Showcase Cinemas in Orange (back when that was a thing). Even more remarkable, some of the action takes place in North Haven, my adopted hometown. The main character's parents have a bakery right near the town hall, and—more amazing yet—they live just a ten-minute walk from me! That's all very cool. The story is pretty good, too. Detective William Shute is investigating the stabbing death of a big-deal Bible thumper whose organization of holier-than-thous is planning to move its headquarters to New Haven. But it seems that some of them aren't above satisfying the needs of the flesh in inappropriate ways. Shute has to wade through a lot of porn in the course of his investigation, and he uncovers some surprises along the way: police corruption, a city-wide conspiracy, and an unexpected connection to the case that makes it personal for him.

Janwillem van de Wetering, Outsider in Amsterdam

  Amazon  

This is an old read (published in 1975) by an author who's new to me. Janwillem van de Wetering was born in Rotterdam and seems to have had a lot of adventures. These included a stint as a part-time policeman in Amsterdam's Special Constabulary, an experience that inspired his Grijpstra and DeGier novels, of which Outsider in Amsterdam is the first. In this outing, the two policemen—Grijpstra is older and more senior—investigate the hanging death of the unlikable founder of a commune. The investigation continues at a comfortable pace: This is a world in which there's time for conversation and drinks with suspects. Outsider in Amsterdam is more about character than action, which is to my liking. Grijpstra and DeGier have a worn-in relationship, and it was enjoyable to tag along with them on their relaxed hunt for a killer. I'm not sure I'd jump to read the next book in the series, but I wouldn't object to reading it one day.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Talented Mr. Varg

  Amazon  

The endearingly-named Ulf Varg—"Wolf Wolf"—is a policeman, the head of the Department of Sensitive Crimes in Malmö, Sweden. The office is not very busy, and Varg and his colleagues are thus able to take a somewhat leisurely approach to solving the unusual and relatively minor cases that cross their desks. Varg is a good man, honest and thoughtful and humane in the way the author's protagonists tend to be. He likes Swedish art and dogs and his married coworker Anna—and that's a storyline that we'll surely be hearing more about in the books to come. The series has much in common with McCall Smith's other work. Ulf Varg is to a great extent Precious Ramotswe or Isabel Dalhousie transplanted to a different exotic locale (although I find Ulf more immediately likable than Isabel for some reason). So, sure, the books are a little formulaic. It just so happens that I really like the formula.

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