Illegally dead by David Wishart

Blurb: When Corvinus receives a letter, with a tantalising PS, from his adopted daughter, Marilla, mentioning there might have been a murder, he hot-foots it to Castrimoenium at once. Not that everyone agrees that Lucius Hostilius was murdered. Poison was apparently the means of death, but Lucius was terminally ill: it was only a matter of time. Although he hasn’t any official investigative status, Corvinus can’t resist doing a little amateur sleuthing. And he has barely begun when two other corpses turn up and he is formally on the case. Lucius had been suffering something of a personality change because of his illness, so there is no shortage of suspects among friends and family whom he had antagonised. But Corvinus goes up many a blind alley before arriving at the heart of the mystery. As we follow Marcus Corvinus, clue by clue, on his twelfth case, we allow ourselves to be pleasurably diverted by rumours of Meton’s love life – and by an authentic recipe for fish pickle sauce . . .

My thoughts: What can I say? I absolutely love Marcus Corvinus, this wise cracking, wine-loving nobleman is by far my favourite Roman historical detective. This is his twelfth case and just as intriguing as all the others. But what makes David Wishart’s Corvinus books such great reads are not only the great characters, but also the descriptions of ancient Roman life. What I always find a bit distracting are the translations of Roman words that everybody knows anyway into English, which takes a bit of fun out of it, for example a toga is a mantle etc. But once one gets used to that, it’s ok.

The story is set in Castrimoenium again, a place we already know from “A vote for murder”. But where the first took us into the world of politics and property development, “Illegally dead” deals almost exclusively with lawyers and the Roman law.

Castrimoenium also seems to be THE playground for Meton, the pretty greasy but skilled chef of Corvinus’. Too funny to read what he’s up to now again.

If you like Ancient Roman detective stories the Marcus Corvinus series is a must. I put together a Marcus Corvinus mystery series list on amazon to view the books in chronological order.

Available on Amazon

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