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

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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: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 (, 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

Customer Reviews

Roman leaders did not hide assassinations, executions, or murders.
Her common sense logic plus the historical background she supplies makes a strong case for her hypothesis.
Richard Stephens
As a history buff, I simply had to read the book and am glad I did.
Bea Moon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 64 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 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Annie Haley on January 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book deserves more than five stars. It is my personal favorite book written by my favorite author, Pat Brown. She knows how break down a case and do a wonderful analysis on it. I actually bought this copy for my father, Marty, who absolutely loved it. He thinks Pat's theory is valid and well done. So I hope that you too will enjoy this brilliant book by Pat Brown! It is definitely worth sharing with family and friends! May I recommend purchasing some other of Pat's books as well? They are all fantastic in my opinion!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hawkeye on April 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book which was easy to read, well organized and clear to understand. I enjoyed the author’s perspective on Antony’s mindset and motive during the murder of Julius Caesar, which I have not been exposed to before. She basically uses Plutarch’s quotes throughout the entire book to form her story.

The text has some strange and unusual wording on pages 52,53,58,121 and 145 which adds to some confusion to the student on the subject. It is possible poor proofing. The photos in the middle of the book present as a photo album giving the impression the book came secondary to a pleasure trip she was writing off to create the book.

Her profiler interpretation and thought-provoking analysis of Cleopatra VII death is quite interesting and creative. It provides food for thought even though she contradicts Plutarch in the end who she embraced all throughout the book up to the point of the queen’s death.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Value Viewer on April 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting and intriguing investigation to Cleopatra's life and the end of her life. Made for interesting conversation with others about the world at that time and the power struggles that came to bear the winning leader. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall and go back in history to see what really took place.

In all I would recommend this book to anyone who would want to see another perspective on what history has already written.
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More About the Author

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Pat Brown is a nationally known criminal profiler and television commentator. She is the CEO of The Sexual Homicide Exchange ( and president of The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency ( Through the Sexual Homicide Exchange, she provides pro bono cold case profiling and training for law enforcement and she works privately for families, attorneys, and the media throught her own agency. Pat Brown is the author of Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers (Phoenix Books) and her new book, The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths (Hyperian Voice) will be out in May 2010. Having made over one thousand television and radio appearances in the United States and worldwide, Pat Brown is well known for her crime commentary and for her profiling and forensic analysis. She can be seen regularly on MSNBC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and CBS, and is a frequent guest of Nancy Grace, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, Larry King, The Today Show, and The CBS Early Show. Pat Brown was the host and profiler for the 2004 Discovery Channel documentary, The Suspicious Death of Cleopatra and in February 2010 she can be seen in the new Discovery Channel Mystery Files series revealing a new Jack the Ripper suspect and discussing why she believes Cleopatra was murdered.

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