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Death in the Ashes: A Fourth Case from the…
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Death in the Ashes: A Fourth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger

by Albert A. Bell, Jr.

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1421,045,701 (3.9)1
In A.D. 84 Pliny the Younger returns to the Bay of Naples--where the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius five years earlier caused the death of his adoptive father and mentor--to help a family friend charged with murder. Never before has so much time elapsed before Pliny's arrival on a murder scene, and never before has he carried so much emotional baggage.… (more)

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Another fine Roman mystery from Albert Bell, though more in a minor key than the previous three books in the series. That's because of the setting -- the area around Vesuvius five years after the eruption that buried Pompeii and a whole lot more around the Bay of Naples. The ash still lies deep over much of the area, many houses have been buried and many lives lost (how many, no one is sure), and starving brigands wander in the spectral landscape. It's not a cheery scene, and it is particularly hard on Pliny, who has horrible memories of the eruption itself, which killed his uncle. But he and Tacitus are in the region in response to a friend's plea for help. The story unfolds, as our hero traces down clues, fights off people who clearly want to kill him, and has to put up with occasional earthquakes. As in the other books in the series, the characterization is strong, and the setting is vividly realized. This is an excellent read in an excellent series. ( )
  annbury | Feb 4, 2018 |
Pliny receives a plea for help from an old friend whose husband was found standing over a murdered woman's body with the murder weapon in his hand and refuses to say anything about what happened. The only thing is they live just outside Naples, which means revisiting the site of the eruption of Vesuvius five years before and Pliny still hasn't recovered from that traumatic experience.

Good, well paced story. One loose end, will Plautia learn what Pliny means by 'implacable enemy' or will she just vanish? ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 3, 2015 |
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