Marcus Corvinus is spending a few days in the Alban Hills, visiting his stepdaughter and enthusiastically patronising the local wineshop, while taking a mild interest in the forthcoming consul's elections. Then one of the two candidates is murdered, and Corvinus is all too pleased to put his holiday on hold and help with the investigation. The obvious suspect is the rival political candidate, but needless to say, the obvious solution is not the right one. In the course of his investigations Corvinus meets an unconventional young woman - the dead man's fiancee; a shady property developer; an ex-war hero; the younger son of a wealthy family who is pursuing a career as an artist and assorted low lifes. But which one is the murderer? There are two more violent deaths, plus a near miss for Corvinus himself, before (tipped off, as usual, by his intellectual wife, Perilla) Marcus uncovers a nationalists' conspiracy and solves the mystery. In a grand finale, he enters the local wine-tasting competition (which, given his dedicated attitude to training, should be a walkover) only to be beaten ...by a sheep.
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(178mm x 112mm x 24mm)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The streets of Caesar's Rome are becoming increasingly crowded with the cunning breed of ancient world sleuth, and it's a wonder that the anachronistic detectives of Stephen Saylor, Lindsey Davis and David Wishart are not stumbling over each other. But who cares? All three authors are producing work of the highest quality, shot through with sardonic wit, offbeat characterization and highly plausible historical detail. More than his colleagues and rivals, Wishart seems aware that the whole Roman Sleuth enterprise is a confidence trick: we know that there were no detectives in this era, but such is his narrative skill that we completely buy the concept and enjoy the outrageously entertaining results. Here Wishart's canny investigator Marcus Corvinus is having a leisurely holiday with his stepdaughter and generally enjoying a bibulous time while keeping half an eye on the Machiavellian antics involved in the pending consulate elections. But when one of the two candidates meets a violent death, Corvinus summarily ends his vacation and plunges into the murder hunt. Of course, it's too easy to assume that the rival political candidate would be behind the killing, and some labyrinthine plots are ahead before Corvinus cuts the Gordian Knot in his usual fashion and brings things to a highly surprising conclusion. The different inhabitants of this dangerous world are drawn with great dash, and the one-liners that Wishart specializes in are as good as ever. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - David Wishart
David Wishart studied Classics at Edinburgh University. He then taught Latin and Greek in school for four years and after this retrained as a teacher of EFL. He lived and worked abroad for eleven years, working in Kuwait, Greece and Saudi Arabia, and now lives with his wife and family in Scotland.