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Illegally Dead by David Wishart
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The latest (2009) of the Corvinus mysteries. This one takes place entirely in private, as Corvinus investigates a murder that is worrying the family of his stepdaughter. It has the usual virtues of this series, an engrossing atmosphere and engaging ongoing characters. Still, I wish Corvinus would get back into the realm of politics, as little as he likes it. ( )
  annbury | Sep 22, 2010 |
Illegally Dead by David Wishart. Part of the reason I wanted to get In at the Death through ILL was that I knew the next book in the series was already on its way. Despite being from the same series, the two are surprisingly different. Whereas the first is set entirely in Rome and features a complicated plot and imperial conspiracy, the current book is set in small-town Castrimoenium (also the site for A Vote for Murder, one of the better books in the series) and is essentially a cozy, “everyone-knows-everyone-else” mystery. Wise-cracking Marcus Corvinus responds to a plea from his adopted daughter, Marilla, to leave the capital during the early days of Caligula’s reign and investigate the possible poisoning of a local lawyer whose recent antagonistic behavior due to his deteriorating mental condition has created several possible suspects. Corvinus brings most of his household with him: his wife Perilla, who tries to keep his swearing to a minimum as she subtly steers the direction of his investigations, his major-domo Bathyllus and his talented chef Meton. Perilla is much less prominent in this book compared to the previous one, while Meton is suspected of seducing a freewoman in town. New to the cast is Clarus, a young doctor in town who brings a bit of forensic science to the case and who appears likely to be a recurring character as he is engaged to Marilla. The plot continually twists with several additional dead bodies appearing at regular intervals. If you can get past the fact that a low-level aristocrat like Corvinus addresses everyone as “pal” or “princess” or “sunshine” like some hard-boiled detective from the 1940s, then you’ll enjoy this otherwise well-written and well-paced series.

For all my book and movie reviews, please visit my blog at http://unsetalarmclock.wordpress.com/
  grmachine | Aug 22, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0340840390, Mass Market Paperback)

When Corvinus receives a letter from his adopted daughter, Marilla, with a tantalizing postscript mentioning a possible murder, he hot-foots it to Castrimoenium at once. Not everyone, however, 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 antagonized. 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 10th case, we allow ourselves to be diverted by rumors of Meton’s love life—and by an authentic recipe for fish pickle sauce.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:59 -0400)

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"'Oh, and by the way, please could you come down here as soon as possible? Clarus thinks there's been a murder.'" "When Corvinus receives the letter, with its tantalizing PS, from his adopted daughter, Marilla, 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 after all, 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."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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