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January 14, 2020

In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, Miriam describes a scene when she and Judah were in their dining room:

   

Our couch, flanked by ebony lamp stands, was positioned to face the marble fountain in the courtyard. The low ivory table before us was draped in a bleached linen cloth laden with trays of stuffed olives, boiled eggs, and candied almonds; a platter of the cook’s specialty, thin slices of grilled lamb in a fragrant mint sauce;...

January 7, 2020

By Miriam’s time, the first century of the Common Era, Roman glass was being manufactured into everyday containers and plain tableware. But glass was also being made into windows, jewelry, and magnifying glasses as well as some of the finest pieces of art. 

    

In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, Miriam encounters in the agora her friend, the potbellied dwarf ben Ruben, and invites him to join her in her favorite café:

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December 31, 2019

Near the beginning of THE DEADLIEST THIEF, Phoebe is kidnapped. Miriam suspects she was abducted from a wig shop when her lead bearer reports seeing her go inside to pick up a new wig, but no one wearing a wig came out. Not Phoebe. Not anybody. “If Phoebe had made it out of that shop,” Miriam said, “she’d surely have worn her new wig.”

   

Wearing a wig was common among the wealthy and fashionable of the Roman Empire. In fa...

December 24, 2019

In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, my newest mystery, Miriam reminds us that her mother died of childbed fever after giving birth to her and her twin brother.

    

The first descriptions of childbed fever, also known as puerperal fever, date back to at least the 5th century BCE in the writings of Hippocrates. But it wasn’t until the 19th century CE that physician Ignaz Semmelweis saw the connection between the illness and unwashe...

December 17, 2019

I stood there as if I’d been punched in the chest. The knocking was so frantic that I bolted out of my study, tore across the atrium to the entrance of our townhouse, and opened the door.

  
It was my Phoebe, a fresh mouse blooming on her left cheek, a flame of red encircling her mouth, and an eggplant bruise planted on the right side of her neck. Clutching the door jamb to recover her balance, gasping for air, she stagger...

December 10, 2019

In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, June Trop brings to life a fascinating figure in 1st Century CE Alexandria, Miriam bat Isaac. Despite its ancient setting, the action, conflicts, and characters come across realistically, even vividly. You will feel very much there as you witness a crime of murder, jealousy, and greed.  

There is a scene in THE DEADLIEST THIEF in which the villain is led to a cache of jewelry, and I want to te...

December 3, 2019

In THE DEADLIEST FEVER, Miriam speaks of the beauty of the Egyptian plane trees in the gardens of Alexandria as her bearers bring her to the agora.

   

Rather than head south, we took the shorter and shadier route angling north into the sea breeze and then west through the side streets of the Jewish and Bruchium quarters. I prefer this route despite the reek of fried grease and the geysers of dust that blight the backstreet...

November 25, 2019

In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, Miriam’s latest adventure, she welcomes a guest to her table in a local café.

   

A moment later, a mousy-haired, knock-kneed waiter cuts a clean line around the empty tables. Shouldering a tray of finger foods and beverages, he sails right over. The glassware chinks as my guest grabs a goblet of pomegranate wine sweetened with honey and paws four apricot tarts and two hefty chunks of manouri, a crea...

November 19, 2019

In modern times, graffiti has come to be regarded as a rapidly evolving, stylized form of social expression, where spray paint and marker pens have replaced sharp objects, chalk, and coal. Moreover, while ancient graffiti displayed phrases of love, poetic declarations, public rhetoric, and simple thoughts, today’s messages are about social and political ideals.

   

Most countries consider the marking or painting of property...

November 12, 2019

Both the term “graffiti” and its rarely used singular form “graffito” are from the Italian word graffiato meaning scratched. In ancient times, graffiti was scratched into surfaces with a sharp object, although chalk and coal were also used. Graffiti is defined as a form of artistic expression ranging from simple words to elaborate paintings made without permission and within public view.

   

Graffiti has occurred since anci...

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© 2018 by June Trop

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Come to Miriam’s Alexandria, a first century city second only to Rome.