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The Murder of Cleopatra: History's Greatest Cold Case Paperback – February 19, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There was no suicide by asp, advises Brown; the most famous woman of antiquity was strangled on the orders of the victor of Rome’s civil wars, Octavian. Resting this belief on her reputation as a professional criminal profiler, Brown examined the sources about Cleopatra’s demise (Plutarch, Suetonius, Cassius Dio); detected defects in their descriptions of the death scene; and then traveled to Egypt in 2003 to investigate. There was more motivation to her trip than personal curiosity. Brown reveals that a TV production company enlisted her to appear in its program on Cleopatra, a natural choice because Brown’s own TV profile was high; according to her website (patbrownprofiling.com), up to 2010, she frequently appeared on tabloid TV shows to talk about crimes and criminals. For the cold case of Cleopatra, Brown envelops her suspicions of murder within a narrative of Cleopatra’s contested rule of Egypt, which she diplomatically maintained through Julius Caesar and Mark Antony until Octavian came knocking. Whether convinced by Brown’s theories or not, tastes for ancient mysteries will be well entertained by her account. --Gilbert Taylor


"A compelling... investigation into the demise of Cleopatra, this book attempts to disprove the fabled story of her suicide by snakebite while hypothesizing a very different cause of death." --Publishers Weekly

"The end of Antony and Cleopatra after the lost battle of Actium has been the subject of endless books and articles written by historians and essayists. This idea of the murder of Cleopatra (and Antony)—developing an ancient cold case—is totally new and fascinating. Really thrilling to read!" --Dr. Hilke Thur, Institute for Studies of Ancient Culture, Austrian Academy of Sciences

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (February 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616146508
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616146504
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pat Brown Biography

Pat Brown is a nationally known criminal profiler, television commentator, author, and founder and CEO of The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency and CEO/co-developer of The Pat Brown Method of Investigative Criminal Profiling for Major Crimes Detectives.

Pat has profiled cold cases for law enforcement for over twenty years. Her experiences in providing deductive profiling in homicide cases led her to develop the first Criminal Profiling and Investigative Analysis Certificate Program in the United States for Excelsior College which is a major provider of continuing education for military members and law enforcement. Recognizing the importance of criminal profiling as a tool in fresh cases as well as cold cases, Pat joined forces with Police Chief Robert Lee to bring criminal profiling directly to the skill set of major crimes detectives and together they have developed a specific method of investigative criminal profiling to be offered as necessary training for police detectives.

During the last decade and a half, Pat has provided crime commentary and forensic analysis in over three thousand television and radio appearances in the United States and across the globe. She has been seen regularly on the cable television news programs, CNN, MSNBC and FOX, and as been a frequent guest of The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Canada AM, Larry King, Inside Edition, Nancy Grace, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, Joy Behar, and America's Most Wanted. For four seasons, Pat profiled crimes on the weekly Court TV crime show, I, Detective. Pat was the host of the 2004 Discovery Channel documentary, The Mysterious Death of Cleopatra and in the spring of 2006, Pat went inside one of Florida's maximum-security prisons to interview a child murderer for the Discovery Channel series, Evil Minds. In 2010 she profiled a new Jack the Ripper suspect for Investigation Discovery's Mystery Files. Pat contributed special feature content for the 2005 home DVD edition of Profiler: Season Two and the 15th Anniversary Edition, 2006 DVD release of Quentin Tarantino's crime classic, Reservoir Dogs.

Pat is the author of six books: The Murder of Cleopatra (Prometheus Books 2013), The Truth about Book Publishing and Book Publicity (Amazon 2013), How to Save Your Daughter's Life (HCI 2012), Only the Truth (Amazon 2012), The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths (Hyperion Voice 2010) and Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers (Phoenix Books 2003).

Through The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency , Pat provides criminal profiling consultation, education, and training to law enforcement, media, attorneys, universities, corporations, and private individuals.

Pat specializes in crime scene analysis, behavioral profiling, threat analysis, psychopathy, serial rape and murder, victimology, terrorism, and homicide investigation.

Pat holds a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Menkaure on February 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Cleopatra was as likely to have been murdered as she was to have been black: which is to say, not likely at all.
The assertion is entertaining and will no doubt sell books, but there are many reasons why Pat Brown's theories on Cleopatra---if they can even be called that---will be dismissed as nothing more than conjecture. Chief among them is the fact that Ms. Brown has no training in history or archaeology. Her expertise is in criminal profiling. It is this expertise that she attempts to apply to a 2000 year old event in which all of the participants are dust; in which there is no physical evidence to be examined; in which the only sources are a handful of Roman authors writing nearly a century after Cleopatra's death. As Brown correctly points out, these sources cannot be entirely trusted, as they were not primary witnesses, and they most definitely had agendas of their own. Yet they are our only sources. The author herself, even as she dismisses them, relies upon these Roman sources to reconstruct her profiles of Cleopatra and Octavian. As I said, these are the only sources that exist.
The error in Brown's reasoning lies in her understanding of the sources, and more importantly, in the characters of Cleopatra and Octavian. When one cuts out all of the window-dressing in this book, the heart of Brown's argument is that Cleopatra VII was strong, ambitious, and determined; she would not have committed suicide, because that would be giving up. A strong, independent woman never gives up. Therefore, her arch enemy, Octavian, must have killed her. This logic is the basis of Brown's entire argument. To support the argument Brown speculates on Octavian's motives for wanting Cleopatra dead, and more importantly for wanting to hide the fact that he killed her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
... nor will Ms. Brown, but then she doesn't pretend otherwise. This is her interpretation as a leading criminal profiler which she offers to the readers for their consideration, and should be taken in that light. An interesting alternative to the accepted Cleopatra/Mark Antony Love-Story-meets-Snakes-Alive! hokum.

I remember watching the original television programme and how enthralIing I found it, especially as I'd never given much thought to the subject in the past. Pat Brown's book takes her theories a step further, and you have to give the author credit for the exhaustive research she's undertaken to back up her beliefs, including detailed analysis of naval warfare strategy, boat-building and route-marching! She examines the political reality of the world in which these fascinating people lived, the most likely (and self-serving) motivations behind all their actions, and the events leading up to the final show-down at Actium. The book isn't perfect by any means: some readers disliked her style of writing but I found it enjoyable, and made what could have been a dry treatise into a very readable (and sometimes quite funny) detective story. Her theories at times seem more to do with wishful thinking than any real evidence, and some of her arguments don't really hold water in my view. She does blot her copybook with the final chapter giving her interpretation of the final hour/days of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Unfortunately she presents this in a fictional form, and it reads like a chapter in a pretty bad and rather fanciful romantic novel. Stretches the credibility a bit.

There are other flaws certainly. From early on she disses Plutarch (one of the few sources available on the subject) as being fanciful, biased and prone to exaggeration.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles H. Levenson on July 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Where does the fiction end and the facts begin?In"The Murder of Cleopatra"by Pat Brown it doesn't.
Oh,sure,we have a cast of historical individuals,and we are dealing with mostly historical events,but in Ms.Brown's incapable hands it all turns to opinionated mush.
Most of the book turns on Ms.Brown's arrogant assumption that she rather than those who were alive at or around the time of Cleopatra's demise knows more of the how and the why.Whole chunks of text by Strabo,Suetonius,Cassius Dio,Plutarch and others are quoted after which Ms.brown,who behaves throughout the book as an annoying know-it-all declares that they are all wrong.Her "proof"that they are all wrong is flimsy at best.
Cleopatra couldn't have died in a tomb because her examination of some tombs suggest them to be unlike the admitted embellished pictorial representations that artists have provided.
An asp or a cobra could not have killed her because after Cleopatra and her hand-maidens were dead a snake would not,according to Ms.Brown,have been able to slither away and yet according to Ms.Brown no snake was found.
Sure,it is POSSIBLE that some of Ms.brown's opinions may be accurate,at least as accurate as anything from 2,000 years ago could be,but in her arrogance Ms.Brown declares in the first pages of her book,"Clopatra was murdered"This declaration came after,by her own admission,she went to a bookstore in Ohio and read a few books on Cleopatra that she found there.
So,after dismissing all of the period writers accounts Ms.Brown then constructs her narrative based on her "findings",except that when one reads her book one is struck repeatedly by the fact that her"findings"are mostly her opinions rather than solid facts.
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