Marcus Aurelius Septimus is off to Rome. He asks Libertus to represent him at the wedding of Pomperia Didia. Although Libertus is not that keen, Marcus is his patron, and therefore his protector, so he doesn't have much choice really. Then Marcus asks him to do another favour - to keep an eye on one Antoninus Seulonius and report back to Marcus on who he consorts with. Libertus is even less keen on this favour.
The wedding is an elaborate affair but when Libertus rocks up on the day, proceedings are halted owing to the unexpected illness of the father of the bride, after tasting the wedding wine. Later, the bride hysterically declares that she is to blame for her now dead father, but an investigation by Libertus uncovers hidden tensions in the household.
Attempting to spy for Marcus lands Libertus in unaccountable trouble, and in too-close proximity of another death. Could these two deaths be connected? Meanwhile with his patron away, Libertus is on his own and it's not a comfortable feeling.
A good mystery. I like and enjoy the escapades in which Libertus finds himself. A must for fans of this period. Highly recommended.