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In these two delightful history-mysteries, seven boys in Ancient Rome solve strange crimes . . . thanks to some help from their cranky teacher, a little bit of logic, and a lot of amusing misadventure.

Yes, Rufus wrote CAIUS IS A DUMBBELL on his tablet at school, but no, he did not break into the schoolroom, did not tie up his teacher, and certainly did not paint his slur about Caius on the Temple of Minerva (even if it is in Rufus's own handwriting). Rufus is doomed unless his six classmates can find out who is really responsible. Every hour seems to bring a new, confusing clue . . . until the boys finally stumble upon someone who is not what he appears to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152162801
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 11/01/2002
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 105,100
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 7 - 10 Years

About the Author

Henry Winterfeld (1901-1990) was born in Germany. He began writing for children in 1933, when he wrote Trouble at Timpetill to entertain his son, who was sick with scarlet fever. He went on to write a number of children's books, which have been published around the world.

Table of Contents

The Wrong Lantern
A Muffled Groan
A Bump of Considerable Diameter
The Mathematical Burglar
The Newspaper
Senator Vinicius
Wet Clothes and Empty Money-Box
The Hole in the Wall
A River Inside a Building?
The Baths of Diana
A Letter to the Emperor
Xantippus Finds the Point
Cheap Soap, Burned Oil, and Onions
A Certain Guest
A Banquet
The Bakery
The Banks of the Rhine

Customer Reviews

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Detectives in Togas 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Detectives in Togas might have to be my third favorite book ever. It inspired me to read more mysteries. This book isn't very predictable at all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like another reviewer mentioned, this is a book from my childhood. In fact, it is the ONLY book that I remember vividly from my childhood. It was read to my class by our English teacher and I loved it! Will definitely be getting a copy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book because it keeps you guessing through the whole book. It is a little easy to guess who wrote the message on the wall.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was my absolute favorite when I was in grade school (late 50's) I remember borrowing it over and over from the school library. I am so glad it is back in print, and would recommend it highly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rufus wrote Caius is a dumbbell on his tablet and hung it on the wall of his school and got in a fight with Caius. Rufus gets expeled. That night their teacher is robbed and on the temple wall appears "Caius is a dumbbell". This book is a real page-turner, it kept me on my feet through the whole book. I couldn't put the book down, it was full of suspence and action. Who did the crime? Find out for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a good book for people that love to have a book that solves in front of your eyes this story is about a guy named rufus who wrote caius is a dumbell on his tablet at school. It matgicly appears on the temple wall who did read the mystery to figure out
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would really recommend this book. It¿s amazing! It¿s a real page-turner! I gave it 5 stars because I think its full of suspense, mystery and excitement! Each page you turn brings a new surprise. It takes place in Rome. It is about a boy named Rufus who attends Xanthos School with his classmates. One of the boys named Caius would not let Rufus study his words. So Rufus writes on his slate ¿Caius is a dumbbell,¿ and hangs it behind their teacher. Caius gets mad and fights with him. Their teacher (Xantippus) expels Rufus for what he wrote! The next morning the students find Xantippus tied up in a closet. He said he was assaulted! On their way to tell Rufus, the boys find writing on the temple wall. It says, ¿Caius is a dumbbell!¿ When they get to Rufus¿ house, he has been arrested. Can his schoolmates find the real culprit in time or will Rufus be forced to stay in prison for the rest of his life? If you want to find out what happens, read this great book, Detectives in Togas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Detectives in Togas is an OUTSTANDING suspence book. A MUST read. I just can not stop reading it enough!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a really good mystery. It keeps you guessing right to the end,I recommend everyone reads it.
Sage7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this book the best .
rinny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was alright. I remember it being weird.
ASBiskey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the blurbs on the front said "Humorous". I did not find this book humorous. It was not suspensful. They were not detectives. I could not keep track of which boy was which. It was a struggle to keep trudging through. Too much book for not enough story.
deltadawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about Roman culture and intrigue. The plot was complex for my young children (5 and 8) and yet they always wanted to go on to the next chapter. I had difficulty with the number of characters but we likely read the book over too long a time. There is some violence but it isn't graphic. I would definitely recommend for older elementary aged children and parents.
uiyt More than 1 year ago
I ate it u would too it too boring o my god you would hate it too i freaking i hate it
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
good, clean mystery set in ancient Rome It is at some unspecified time of the ancient Roman Empire, and Mucius, Rufus, Caius, Antonius, Flavius, Julius, and Publius are all students in the school of Xanthos, whom the boys nicknamed Xantippus because he reminded them of Socrates’s bad-tempered wife Xantippe. Caius had disturbed Rufus and wouldn’t let him study, so Rufus angrily writes “Caius is a dumbbell” on his wax tablet which he hangs on the wall. When Xantippus sees it, he sends Rufus home and threatens to expel him. When the boys arrive at school the next morning, they find that someone has broken into the schoolroom, attacked Xantippus, and stolen several articles, including Rufus’s tablet. But then an even worse crime is committed. They find that someone has written “Caius is a dumbbell” on the temple of Minerva dedicated to the Emperor by Caius’s father Senator Vinicius. Unfortunately, the handwriting expert Scribonius confirms that it is in Rufus’s handwriting, so while Rufus steadfastly denies that he wrote it, he is taken off to prison and is slated to be sold as a galley slave. The boys must look for clues to find the real culprit and save Rufus. Who might have been responsible for it? Could it be Senator Vinicius, or Lukos the astrologist whose house is across the street from Xantippus’s school, or even the Emperor who is jealous over the military victories of General Praetonius who just happens to be Rurus’s father? Or is there someone else lurking about? And will they be able to solve the case in time to spare Rufus? I first heard about Detectives in Togas back in 2007 when it was recommended by Love to Learn, a homeschool resource company. This delightful story not only presents readers with a suspenseful yet good, clean mystery but also gives youngsters a lot of insight into daily life in ancient Rome, with a good dose of humor along the way and a surprise ending. During excavations at Pompeii, a temple wall was found on which the words “Casius Asinus Est” were written. These literally mean “Caius is an ass,” i.e., a stupid person, and this fascinating bit of history forms the basis for Winterfeld’s imaginary plot. Author Henry Winterfeld (1901-1990) was born in Germany, wrote his first children’s book Trouble at Timpetill in 1933, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1940. He originally wrote Detectives in Togas in German as Caius ist ein Dummkopf, and it was translated into English by Clara and Richard Winston. Being set in ancient Rome, it contains numerous references to the Roman gods, including such exclamations as “by all the good gods,” and to drinking wine. However, it corroborates the fact that the Emperor insisted on being worshipped as a god, which was the basis for the persecution of Christians in those days. There is also a moral to the story, as Xantippus uses the fate of the criminal to remind the boys that “The path of vice leads inevitably to ruin.” A sequel is entitled Mystery of the Roman Ransom.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Detectives in Togas is a very good book that takes place in Rome.Near the end you don't want to put it down! The author gives you lots of clues and mystery, but I'll be amazed if you can figure it out! You see, Rufus wrote "Caius is a dumbbell" on his tablet at school, but he got kicked out of school for it. So did he get mad, and assault his teacher, tying him up in a closet? Did he write "Caius is a dumbbell" on a temple wall? His friends are sure it was someone else. Rufus would not do that! But even if they know he is innocent, can they prove it? If they can, whe did do it? Can the boys get Rufus out of prison in time? I liked this book, because it makes you want to know whe did it, and they give you good hints that help you get an idea of what might have happened. And, of course, they tell you how it happened at the end of the book. I gave thes book four stars because although the end is good, the start (to me) was not as great. In the beginning, there are lots of action spots, but in between it is pretty boring. It is sort of like that throughout the book,but I think that the end is more exciting. Overall, I recommend this book, especially for 10-11 year olds who love mystery and suspense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Detectives in Togas' has to be one of the worst novels I have ever read. It lacked content, character, and every other element of a good read.

I found all of the characters in this book to be equally impersonal and one-dimensional, and could not bring myself to choose a least favorite character, let alone a favorite. In a well-written book, which I would not consider this to be, the reader gets to know each character on a higher, more personal level, as if they were real people versus fictional personia made up for the author's own use. I did not feel this way about any of the characters.

This book is catergorized as historical fiction, but I could not see what was very 'historical' about it. The knowledge shown in this book has got to be equal to that of a school age child plus a collection of interesting fact. I frankly could not say if this book is well researched or not, because I cannot see what educated American would hate to do more then five minutes or so of research for its writing-if even that.

I shall step down off my soapbox now, and allow another unfortunate reader a chance to rant. I do wish that anyone reading this now will choose to bypass reading this book in favor, say, for a root canal or car accident.