Gaius Petreius Ruso, currently attached to the 20th Legion has arrived in the northern reaches of Britain, the fort at Coria along with his slave/housekeeper/lover, Tilla. This is her homeland and she is naturally looking forward to going there. For Ruso, this should only be a short stay as the 20th is moving on to another outpost, Ulucium. However, events intervene and the hapless doctor finds himself stuck at Coria and enmeshed in the investigation of the mysterious murder of a legionnaire of the 10th Legion. What follows is a race against time to solve the murder before the arrival of the Roman governor in four days time.
The author provides the reader with a plot line that has more twists and turns than the Hana Road on Maui and I must confess that for a couple chapters I was a bit confused as to where this tale was going but then again the good doctor was just as confused. This confusion, however, leads to an exciting, taut, last half of the book, one in which I found it difficult to put down even as I was on duty watching my 2 1/2 year old toddler grand daughter.
One of the features of the author’s books is her witty/humorous writing style and this is on full display especially in the character of Tilla, though the good doctor has his moments as well, especially those moments where his thoughts are slightly different than what he is saying. A thoroughly enjoyable whodunit is in store for the reader in this, the second tale in the Ruso series. I will certainly be going on to see what more trouble and confusion awaits him. 4 stars
About the author:
Ruth (RS) Downie graduated from university with an English degree and a plan to get married and live happily ever after. She is still working on it. In the meantime she is also the New York Times bestselling author of a mystery series featuring Roman doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso.
The latest book is Tabula Rasa, set during the building of Hadrian’s Wall.
The previous five are:
Medicus (the first story, published as ‘Medicus/Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls’ in the UK and Australia)
Terra Incognita (‘Ruso and the Demented Doctor’)
Persona non Grata (‘Ruso and the Root of All Evils’)
Caveat Emptor (‘Ruso and the River of Darkness’)
Semper Fidelis (at last, only one title everywhere!)
Ruth is not the RS Downie who writes real medical textbooks. Absolutely none of the medical advice in the Ruso books should be followed. Roman and Greek doctors were very wise about many things but they were also known to prescribe donkey dung and boiled cockroaches.
Find out more at http://www.ruthdownie.com