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on 17 June 2013
as many twists as an eel and quite graphic in places nasty deaths and deceptive familys money and blackmail and our ham handed lad needs to find his footing the gang as usual aid and abuse him especialy merton the chef
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2008
Marcus Corvinus, Ancient Roman aristocrat, layabout and amateur detective, is holidaying by the sea at Baiae with his wife, mother and stepfather when the town drunk Trebbio is accused of the murder of local fish farmer Murena. Only thing is, Corvinus is sure Trebbio didn't do it. So he must find who did. Not easy, since the Murena Fan Club had a total membership of approximately none, particularly within the deceased's toxic family - a widow, daughter, two sons and a son-in-law are all firmly in the frame, and that's just for starters. But these problems pale into insignificance beside the fact that Corvinus's mild antiquarian stepfather Priscus has, rather late in the day, decided to let his hair down and go off the rails...
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on 17 April 2012
This book is the usual gripping and humorous tale that we expect from David Wishart. Certainly worth adding to your Marcus Corvinus collection.
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on 5 October 2013
Marcus is this time in Baiae on holiday but is asked to investigate a death when a body is found in a tank of Norway eels. The usual round of question ing ensues and various family members of the dead man are of a nasty disposition .Then there are more deaths and visits to the local wine bars

Margaret
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VINE VOICEHALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 17 October 2014
Wow. This is a fine book that I could not put down and almost- almost read in one long enjoyable sitting.

This is the first David Wishart book of his that I have read but it won't be the last.

I am a fan of the Roman Detective genre. Read all the Linsay Davis Didius Falco books- which started brilliantly then seemed to go to seed a little with the later books.
Steven Saylor- Gordianus magnificent with a new one out and my personal favourite John Maddox Robert's Decius Caecilius Metellus SPQR series.

If you loved early Falco novels, Like Stephen Saylor and have read any John Maddox Roberts then this is the book for you.

I got the same delight when I started to read this book as I did when I first encountered all the other authors above for the first time.
It's the equivalent of thinking you'd exhausted all the good stuff then find a whole new vein.

The books are written in the first person in the modern style- thus Wishart doesn't bother about making sure the words are historical so we get words like hamburger and other present day words. But these get the meaning across immediately and the words and story flow like treacle on a really hot day.
Wishart doesn't waste words.
The story rattles along at a brilliant pace.
Twist and turns abound- I didn't guess 'who dunnit' at all but my did I have fun finding out.
The backgrounds are authentic but not so detailed that they explain the far end of a fact.
Wishart includes 3 paragrahs at the end explaining the background- how he wanted to set a series of murders among the fish farms of the rich at the Gulf of Baiae, how he wanted the use of nicknames to be a central part of the plot and clues and he even explains the game of 12 lines, a game played in one of the scenes (like Backgammon) to us

I don't need to go into the plot- that is well covered by other reviewers but I really want to share with you my discovery of an excellent writer who writes dam fine stories.

Totally Brilliant.
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on 21 July 2006
When it comes to writing detective novels taking place in Ancient Rome, David Wishart is right up there with the best of them, Lindsey Davis and Steven Saylor to name but two.

The lead character Marcus Corvinus makes an amusing and likeable sleuth and with the help of his very able wife Perilla, not much gets past the pair of them when it comes to solving crimes in the ancient city.

When Licinius Murena the owner of a fish farm is found dead in one of his own eel tanks there are not many tears shed. Certainly not by Trebbio who has recently been booted out of his house by the landowner. Nor by the stunning young widow, half Murena's age. His daughter is not losing any sleep over the loss of her daddy either. The man's farm manager does not seem too distressed either. Does anyone like the murder victim.

It would seem that Corvinus has a list of suspects as long as his arm. Could this be one that even Marcus cannot solve . . .
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on 13 August 2006
dear mr wishart, once again your enjoyable book is marred by the use of corvinus's 'slang dialogue'. most annoying is corvinus's constant use of "sure" - no-one, believe me, ever uses the word "sure" as much as you have corvinus use it. and whilst i appreciate that "yeah" and "no way" are widely used in real conversation, it really is grating to have to read them so often. personally i do not think that corvinus has to speak in this fashion for you to convey that he's a cynical wise-cracker, with a ready supply of good one-liners. it seems to me that you are increasing the use of this device with each new book, and frankly, if there is much more of this in your next book, i won't be reading it. maybe you should consider a new editor.
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on 19 August 2006
Just wanted to add agreement over the tedious use of the same slang phrases, in this and the other later books. My particular pet hate is that our hero addresses every-one from gladiators to senators as 'Pal'. This is very lazy writing and even lazier editing. A Great shame, because the plots and history are excellent and probably better than Lyndsey Davis's more recent novels.
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