When Corvinus receives a letter, with a tantalising PS, from his adopted daughter, Marilla, mentioning there might have been a murder, he hot-foots it to Castrimoenium at once. Not that everyone agrees that Lucius Hostilius was murdered. Poison was apparently the means of death, but Lucius was terminally ill: it was only a matter of time. Although he hasn't any official investigative status, Corvinus can't resist doing a little amateur sleuthing. And he has barely begun when two other corpses turn up and he is formally on the case. Lucius had been suffering something of a personality change because of his illness, so there is no shortage of suspects among friends and family whom he had antagonised. But Corvinus goes up many a blind alley before arriving at the heart of the mystery. As we follow Marcus Corvinus, clue by clue, on his twelfth case, we allow ourselves to be pleasurably diverted by rumours of Meton's love life - and by an authentic recipe for fish pickle sauce ...
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(178mm x 114mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
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US Kirkus Review »
When a lawyer is poisoned, Imperial Rome offers no dearth of suspects.A letter from his adopted daughter Valeria Marilla prompts Roman nobleman and sometime sleuth Marcus Corvinus (In at the Death, 2007, etc.) to venture to Castrimoenium, 25 miles to the southeast, to investigate. The physician Hyperion, father of Marilla's intended Clarus, has ruled the death of affluent lawyer Hostilius a heart attack but suspects poisoning. The dead man's slaves are logical suspects - indeed, Hyperion has kept his suspicions to himself mostly to spare them from a scorched-earth punishment - but so are several others in the lawyer's immediate circle: his widow Veturina, her brother Castor and Hostilius' law partner Quintus Acceius. Widening the field of possibilities is an abrupt, unpleasant personality change in the last year or so of Hostilius' life. Only a week earlier, he'd been attacked in the street for no apparent reason. Corvinus' casual questioning of household and community takes a darker, more urgent turn with the murder of beautiful slave-boy Cosmos, who was notorious for using his body to get what he wanted. Corvinus is chagrined to learn that Castor and Veturina have been concealing the disappearance of Hostilius' ward Paulina on the day of his death, a fact that turns out to be key to the mystery. Can no one in Castrimoenium be trusted?Rich with historical detail (including a lengthy author's note about Roman cookery), but essentially a solid traditional whodunit with a customary parade of suspects and a thickening plot, as well as the culminating deduction, lengthily explained. (Kirkus Reviews)
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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.