Pliny the Younger hoped to improve relations with his unpleasant wife and her mother by investing in a warehouse on the Tiber with them. Now the building has collapsed due to heavy rains. Pliny discovers several dead people inside, including a man with a narrow red “equestrian” stripe on his tunic, indicating aristocracy. He wasn’t killed by the cave-in, however, but by a knife wound in his back.
When Pliny gives the body a forensic examination, he finds two more puzzling things: a circumcision (unusual in Rome), and thirty pieces of silver in his sewn-closed mouth. To further complicate matters, Pliny’s servant and lover, Aurora, finds a live baby in the wreckage. What connection does the funeral of a consul have with these events? Queen Berenice of Judaea, the mistress of the late emperor Titus, soon enters the story with her sons—one of whom is an assassin, a member of the Sicarii. He’s determined to avenge the defeat of his people and the destruction of their temple—no matter who might get in the way….
Critical Praise for the Pliny the Younger Mysteries
“A masterpiece of the genre.“—Library Journal
“Inspired, ingenious…“—Steven Saylor
“Superbly paced and highly entertaining.“—Over My Dead Body
Albert A. Bell, Jr. is a college history professor and novelist living in Michigan. In addition to his Roman mysteries, Bell has written contemporary mysteries, middle-grade novels, and nonfiction. He can be reached at his website: www.albertbell.wixsite.com/writer