Memento Mori: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another wonderful narrative set in Roman Brittania featuring our eponymous hero Gaius Petreius Ruso, a former medical officer with Rome’s Twentieth Legion, part-time farmer, and semi-professional sleuth. More murder and intrigue follow in the wake of Ruso and his wife, Tilla, as they head to a Roman spa town that happens to sit atop an ancient Briton sacred place, even though they were there to mourn a dead friend and help another avoid being unjustly tried for murder.
There are many things going on in the town of Aquae Sulis, and not everything is what it appears to be. There is tension between the locals, whether they be Roman citizens or not, and former legion veterans who have settled there. The town is full of intrigue and underhandedness and some people will do just about anything in order to preserve the reputation of the town as a place where tourists can and should visit. Nothing must stand in the way of the town prospering…so that some of the major players in the town can prosper as well.
Downie provides another wonderful narrative with characters who are well developed by this stage, none too perfect, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies, and flotsam on the tides of human relationship. Well researched and well written, this novel is another tour de force from an author with a clear and great love for the period of Roman Brittania. Highly recommended.
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