All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger (Pliny the Younger #1)
First-century Smyrna comes alive as the scene of a horrific murder. Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Luke, travelers in a caravan bound for Rome, become investigators when no Roman magistrates are available. Suspects abound: gamblers, arcane priestesses and Christians. What is the secret of one of the victim'ss own slaves, a beautiful blond, and the German giant shadowing h...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published January 15th 2002 by High Country Publishers
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Delightful, entertaining Roman historical mystery set in 81AD, Pliny the Younger and Cornelius Tacitus as 'detectives.' Pliny, Tacitus, and other travellers in the same group are enroute to Rome, coming back from Antioch. They make a stop in Smyrna. After the horrific murder of a Roman patrician staying at the same inn, Pliny and Tacitus set about finding the murderer and motivation. The victim's heart has been cut out. Previously that evening had he been poisoned or killed some other way and by...more
Jan 04, 2011 Vicki Cline rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in ancient Rome
Pliny is an engaging sleuth, although he makes plenty of mistakes. Not only does he have Tacitus for a friend, but he meets Luke, the author of one of the Gospels, whose medical knowledge and good sense help him solve the mystery and rescue the beautiful damsel. Unfortunately there's a good bit of torturing of the slaves of the murder victim, a standard Roman practice. Pliny is against it. We also get Pliny's views on Christians.
The author is a historian, not a novelist, and it shows. He is trying to write a Sherlock Holmes-type story, with Pliny the Younger and Tacitus as Holmes and Watson. He even has a Moriarty named Regulus who is never seen but has tentacles everywhere. And who nefariously survives, apparently for a sequel or two. The murder-mystery is so-so, with a few rookie mistakes, like repeated interviews with suspects which advance the plot not a whit. A good part of the book is spent treading water before t...more
3.5 stars. Curiously engaging. Having read other books set in this general era and part of the world it had a familiar feel. It was certainly an atmospheric book giving me an excellent sense of the place and times. Pliny is not as wise in the ways of the world nor as funny as Falco but he could grow on me. I enjoyed the bits of his uncle's writings/studies that were mentioned and the younger Pliny's general skepticism about religion, the legal system and human nature should stand him in good ste...more
Mildly interesting murder mystery set in the mid-1st c. The main "detective" is Pliny the Younger, with Tacitus as his Watson. As with many historical period mysteries, this team has some amazingly modern ideas in crime detection. The novel sticks a few historical characters in central roles (including some pseudo-historical christian biblical ones like Luke and Timothy). An annoying part of the book, that detracts from the story, is the authors tendency to stick in comments about how superior t...more
Well written, featuring a young Pliny the Younger and his friend Tacitus, in the first of what the author says will be a series. The story takes place in Smyrna, where their caravan has stopped on its way from Syria, where Pliny had served as a government official. A rather unlikable Roman has been murdered, and Pliny decides to ferret out the murderer, while dealing with unpleasant locals, early Christians and other members of his own caravan. The whole thing is deftly brought to a satisfying c...more
This story is great. It has a historical person as sleuth, something I tend to view with skepticism, but here I have to say it works. The person is Pliny the Younger, with Tacitus as his Watson. It’s told in the first person; I was charmed by Pliny and very engrossed in the mystery, a real page turner. The setting was excellent, I was really there. I hope Bell writes many more of these.
An interesting collection of characters join forces to act as sleuths in this historical mystery. It brings to light the true melting pot of cultures that existed in the Roman empire, and how those cultures often misunderstood and mistrusted each other.
Dr. Alfred A. Bell has taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan since 1978, and, from 1994 through 2004, served as chair of the History Department. He holds a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as an MA from Duke and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His published works include the contemporary mysteries Death Goes Dutch and Kill Her Again, nonfiction works Exploring the Ne...moreMore about Albert A. Bell Jr....