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Trade Secrets by David Wishart
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Claudius is Emperor, and Corvinus is back in the private sector. Murder number one leads him to Ostia, and eventually connects up with murder number two. For me, the whole thing was an enjoyable whodunit with an engaging central character, and a well developed Roman background. But then there's the style - Hollywood noir via the UK. More than most of the Roman mystery series, reader reviews on Amazon seem to like the Wishart novels a lot, or dislike them intensely, mostly because of style. I'm in the "like them a lot" camp, and this one doesn't disappoint. ( )
  annbury | Sep 26, 2017 |
Wow, with each book in this series, the mysteries keep getting better--and more sophisticated. I can't say as much for the character development; although Marcus and Perilla are astute and the bought help still have their quirks, that aspect is pretty much at a standstill. In this outing, Marcus is faced with two murders--one the husband of one of Perilla's friends whose body is found in the temple of an obscure nymph and of a businessman from Ostia who has been stabbed. The murders both take place in Rome. Although one victim is Roman and the other from Ostia, Marcus finds a strong connection between the two men. In the course of the investigation, much of which is in Ostia, Marcus uncovers a shipping scam. Red herrings pop up, plus attacks on Marcus, fortunately unsuccessful. The latter show him he's on the right track. On the domestic front, we are privy to a visit from adopted daughter, Marilla and husband Clarus, a doctor, along with their baby son, called The Sprog by Marcus. Also, there's dissention between Marcus and next-door neighbor; Another mini-mystery, the innocent Marcus is accused of killing the man's precious Persian cat. The owner is a cat lover's cat lover.

Despite any clues [and I read the book twice] I never would have guessed the perp or perps first time through. Certain verbal phraseology tics in Marcus' narration are becoming a bit threadbare--"not by a long chalk", "in spades", "on his own bat." But the construction of the mystery and pacing make up for them.

Highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Mar 13, 2016 |
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May, AD 41. The emperor Claudius has acceded to the throne, and the citizens of Rome look forward to an era of peace and stability. Not so Marcus Corvinus however, who finds himself embroiled in not one but two investigations. A friend of his wife has asked him to look into the murder of her brother, found stabbed to death at the Shrine of Melobosis. A wily businessman and notorious womaniser, no one seems to have a good word to say about Gaius Tullius, not even his less-than-grieving widow. But who would have a good enough reason to want him dead? At the same time, Corvinus's daughter comes across a dead body in the Pollio Gardens, and urges her father to investigate. At first Marcus refuses to get involved - but when his enquiries lead him to Ostia, Rome's busy trading port, he uncovers a disturbing connection between the two deaths.… (more)

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