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Oops, I Got Something In My Eye

In “Believing is Seeing,” a short story that’s a locked-room murder mystery, Miriam is so baffled that she wonders whether the victim’s room was cursed:

“Oh, Miriam,” Phoebe, her deputy, asks. “Did you really think the room was cursed?”

“Certainly not in the beginning. I was looking for a rational explanation. But as a solution became ever more remote, I too began to wonder about the curse, even to the point of engaging that oracle by the Gate of the Sun.”

Phoebe rubbed her hands together with glee.

“You know the one,” I continued, “the blind cyclops named Polyphemus.” Who says Phoebe is the only one with a flair for theatrics?

Of course, Phoebe realizes Miriam is kidding, but she could very well have been fooled given that most Greeks had heard of the cyclops (meaning “circle-eyed”), the one-eyed monsters descended from Poseidon who challenged Odysseus in The Odyssey. And having studied with Miriam, Phoebe would certainly remember Polyphemus, the most famous cyclops of all. Homer portrayed the cyclops as the antithesis of the cultured, law-abiding people of Greece.

Our hero took his revenge after Polyphemus ate four of his sailors. After drinking wine with the monster and watching him fall into a drunken stupor, Odysseus launched his attack with the sharp wooden stake he’d hardened in a fire before plunging it into the giant’s single eye.

“Believing is Seeing” is the first short story in my next Miriam bat Isaac volume titled The Deadliest Deceptions. For the date of its release, keep watching here:


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