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The Curse-Maker (Roman Noir #2)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  87 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The Curse-Maker is the sequel to he award-winning Nox Dormienda, the first book of the Roman noir series created by Kelli Stanley (City of Dragons). Wedding impeccably researched history to prose and themes reminiscent of classic hard-boiled writers, The Curse-Maker is a thrilling and suspenseful journey into a dark corner of Roman Britain you've never seen before.
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Minotaur Books
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This was a disappointment as I enjoyed the first in this series.

The murder mystery solution was fine but the setting could have been anywhere; very little of the history was incorporated (unlike the first book).

You don't know who these people are, or why you should care about them, unless you've read the first/previous book.

Still, looking forward to the next in her 1940's San Francisco series.

Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love Roman mysteries only if you're desparate
I felt this to be too derivative. For "Roman noir" David Wishart with his Marcus Corvinus series has a touch of humor, lacks the profanity in this one and is on the whole better. Ruth Downie's doctor, Ruso, has Arcturus beat by a mile.

In Aquae Sulis [today's Bath, England] bodies pile up and it is reported the nearby lead mine is haunted. Arcturus, doctor to Governor Agricola sets out to solve the murders beginning with that of Bibrax, a curse-writer, whose curses have the notoriety of coming t
Mar 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Don't know I've read " The city of Dragons by Kelli"
I read about 1/2.. of this one,, just didn't care for it
That's just my opinion...It did get a good review from other Goodread members...

Sorry.. she is a goog writer..looking forward to other books from Kelli...
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up this book I was unaware that it was a sequel. Nevertheless, this story was still enjoyable without reading the first installment. The novel is set as a period piece from when Roman Britannia were in their heyday. A physician and his wife are reunited after he comes back from a military deployment. They desire to be refreshed and restored, so they journey to a spa town known for its healing waters. When they arrive a murder has taken place which sucks them into an undesirable sit ...more
Nov 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Awful, just awful

This is almost a good book, but it needs some severe editing. It is way too long. The characters and dialog show great promise, but the plot just gets lost. It is a long slow slog to the great reveal, and frankly by then I just didn't care who did what and why. Too long. Too slow. And not at all worth the effort of reading.
First Sentence: The man was floating, serene, tunic swirling in the undulating waves like clouds against a blue sky.

Arcturus, a Roman physician, and his beautiful wife, Gwyna, have come to Acquae Sulis (Bath) for a holiday and to repair the breach in their marriage. Before they even arrive at their residence, they come across a dead body of a curse-maker floating in the sacred bath. Instead of a holiday, Arcturus is drawn into the world of curse-makers, deception, attempted seductions, attempts
Suspense Magazine
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second in Stanley’s Roman noir series finds Arcturus in Aquae Sulis (modern Bath, England). Arcturus, physician to the governor and crime solver, knows his wife, Gwyna, is suffering, but not exactly sure why. Ardur, as Gwyna calls him, makes a trip from Londinium to the baths and the temple of the goddess Sulis—a.k.a. Minerva—for her sake.
When a body is encountered at the baths, Philo, an unmarried, local doctor who is attracted to Gwyna, asks Arcturus to help determine the cause of death. T
Judith Starkston
The Curse-Maker, set in Bath during the Roman period, blends a twisting, exciting mystery with a vivid Roman setting. Stanley combines her background as a classicist with a passion for noir mystery. Her “sleuth,” Arcturus, the doctor for the Roman governor of Britannia, narrates in a hard-edged Dashiell Hammett style. Arcturus arrives in Bath with his beloved but troubled wife Gwyna in order to vacation and restore his wife’s well being. He stumbles instead upon a dead man in the sacred spring o ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roman doctor Arcturus and his wife, Gwyna, travel to Bath England to visit the spas there. When they arrive they find a body floating in the sacred spring. It is the body of Rufus Bibax, a noted local curse maker. The town officials ask Arcturus to assist in finding out who committed this evil but he finds more murder, political intrigue, blackmail and treachery than he expects. This was a very good book. A quick read with elusive solutions. The characters are very well written and the mix of hi ...more
Michele bookloverforever
a mystery set in ancient Britain during the governorship of Agricola. The main character is a doctor, Arcturus. He takes his wife to Bath after he returns from a bloody battlefield. There they stumble over the body of a murder victima and he is asked by the town fathers to find out what happened and who did it. He finds a nest of evil that takes some time to uncover and untangle. He finds the villains and solves the mystery but along the way finds out his wife's darkest secret and heartache.
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this clever follow up to Nox Dormienda, Arcturus travels to Bath with his wife for a holiday and ends up getting sucked into a local murder mystery. Something stinks in the Roman spa town and it's up to medicus Arcturus to figure it out.

I love Kelli Stanley's work. This is the second in her Roman Noir series (noir-esque mystery set in ancient Roman ruled England).
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-ancient-rome
It was quite good, but the ending- I couldn't figure out who done it or exactly why. Thought it was well written, though I could see passages where she overwrote- made it too perfect. As good as the others I read- Davis, Downie, Saylor. Am tempted to read the others.
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really excellent book. Kelli Stanley is well able to establish the look and feel, not to mention the sound and smell, of Roman Britain. The book is a little talky in the middle, but it more or less moves along briskly to a hugely satisfying conclusion.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-fun, 2011
While this book had a slow start, I enjoyed this very much. That being said, I find the writing in Stanley's Miranda Corbie series to be much stronger, and Corbie is a stronger protagonist than Arcturus. However, anyone writing this well in an Ancient Roman setting is all right by me!
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long and full of conniving people. This book is so simple yet complex.
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good sequel to the series. Looking forward to the next one. Can almost picture Bogie as Arcturus.
Richard Brand
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stanley does a very good job of historical fiction. This was a very complex and engaging story.
Maggie Secara
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Roman mystery in first century Britannia. Immediately went on to get and read the second in the series, hoping for m ore.
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is thin on plot. Don't bother.
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An award-winning author of crime fiction, Kelli Stanley's first novel in the Miranda Corbie series, CITY OF DRAGONS, was met with overwhelming critical acclaim. It won the Macavity Award (Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award) and was a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Shamus Award. CITY OF SECRETS, her second novel in the series, won the Golden Nugget Award for best ...more
More about Kelli Stanley...

Other Books in the Series

Roman Noir (2 books)
  • Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping