Thursday, February 3, 2011


Nicolaos lives in ancient Greece, and is startled when a dead man falls to the ground from above him. Not just any dead man either. This is the corpse of Ephialtes, one of the fathers of democracy. His death was murder not suicide, since he was killed with a bow before falling. This could cause civil war in Athens, because many believe that the old men who held power before his time murdered him in order to seize it again.

His successor Pericles is impressed by Nicolaos's wit, and hires him to uncover the killer before the city is torn apart. The protagonist doesn't have a word for private detective, and there don't seem to be any in Greece yet, but he decides that is what he wants to do with the rest of his life. And a good thing too, because someone wants to kill the nosy citizen poking into their business, so he may not have time to do much else.

Sometimes the author does an amazing job taking us to ancient Greece. I loved the hard bitten story when old men, women, and young children swallowed hemlock, so the rest of their community would have a chance to avoid starvation after the Persian army stole their food. On the other hand, the romantic lead is sometimes a little too modern in her attitudes for me to suspend disbelief, although the author points out some things that have made her different from her compatriots.

Take a look at this book, or visit Gary Corby at A Dead Man Fell from the Sky and say hello.


  1. You might also enjoy the Aristotle Detective series by Margaret Doody.

  2. That suspension of belief is so important. If I'm not buying the story, I have a hard time reading on.

  3. Thanks Erin, I'll take a look.

    Susan, you're right, and the one group of authors who have to worry about that more than historical novelists are science fiction writers. Guess I shouldn't be so picky :-)