The intriguing, witty and irreverent new mystery featuring Ancient Roman sleuth Marcus Corvinus
May, AD 41. The emperor Claudius has acceded to the throne, and the citizens of Rome look forward to an era of peace and stability. Not so Marcus Corvinus however, who finds himself embroiled in not one but two investigations. A friend of his wife has asked him to look into the murder of her brother, found stabbed to death at the Shrine of Melobosis. A wily businessman and notorious womaniser, no one seems to have a good word to say about Gaius Tullius, not even his less-than-grieving widow. But who would have a good enough reason to want him dead?
At the same time, Corvinus’s daughter comes across a dead body in the Pollio Gardens, and urges her father to investigate. At first Marcus refuses to get involved – but when his enquiries lead him to Ostia, Rome’s busy trading port, he uncovers a disturbing connection between the two deaths.
About the Author
David Wishart studied Classics at Edinburgh University and spent several years teaching in schools and at University.
Read an Excerpt
‘You know Tullia Gemella, Marcus?’ Perilla said. She was looking a bit chewed.
‘Ah… yeah.’ I gave the lady sitting across from her a nod. An overstatement there: I knew the name, sure – one of the recent and extremely keen recruits, with a thing, according to Perilla, for lyric pieces involving shepherdesses, rustic swains and a general atmosphere of bosk – but I’d never actually seen her in person. The adjectives ‘large’ and ‘imposing’ sprang to mind. Also the phrase ‘a strong personality’: even although the lady hadn’t opened her mouth yet, she just radiated self-possession, confidence, and a knowledge of her own considerable worth. So must Hannibal have looked when he was faced with the Alps and muttered: ‘I’ll bloody have you lot for a start!’
Well, it explained Perilla’s chewed look, anyway; in the time between the end of the poetry-klatsch meeting and my arrival, Things must’ve been Fraught.
‘Pleased to meet you, Tullia Gemella,’ I said. ‘I’ll just –’ I turned to go.
‘No, don’t leave, dear,’ Perilla said quickly. ‘We’ve been waiting for you to get back. Gemella wanted a word.’
‘Yeah? What about?’
‘Her brother’s been murdered.’