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Murder In Absentia

(Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic #1)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  116 reviews
A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but
Paperback, 308 pages
Published (first published October 1st 2015)
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Assaph Mehr
Assaph Mehr - Author, Romanophile, Day-dreamer

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Assaph Mehr The women in the book like to think so :-)

There are a few women in the novels. Some are demure, some are opinionated. All written as individual human…more
The women in the book like to think so :-)

There are a few women in the novels. Some are demure, some are opinionated. All written as individual human beings, with their own agendas and lives, making their way in a society based on ancient Rome.

You can even read an interview with one of them.

Make of it what you will. (less)

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4.31  · 
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 ·  214 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Archit Ojha
Just how potent was this!

When a murder happens in mysterious circumstances, you better should know whom to contact. This suspicious death asks us to invite the lead protagonist, Felix. Because of the political influences, the murder gets its full publicity. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

Egretia (ancient Rome) is the place where this mystery has occurred. Thriller and Magic, both combined offer an engrossing urban fantasy read. Vivid and well-written plot.

Set in the times of ancient Rome, detec
Magnum P.I. in a toga? Long before Sherlock Holmes, Paul Drake or even Lassie, there was Felix, a magic wielding Private Investigator in a make believe Rome. Assaph Mehr has written the perfect murder mystery with a touch of who-dun-it, a little humor, danger and a LOT of food. No wonder they wore togas.

No, I’m not pointing fun at the author’s tale, I am marveling at how engaging it was. A son of a wealthy and powerful politician has been brutally murdered in a most painful way and his body is c
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This one was intriguing - a murder mystery set in a version of Roman times with some paranormal activity thrown in as well! So a historical murder fantasy. Whatever, it made for interesting reading.
I enjoyed Felix, the main character and intrepid detective. He was clever, cunning and persistent and eventually solved the case. The word eventually also gives a clue to my only issue with the the book. It was far too wordy. I liked the descriptions of imaginary Roman life and the seaside town where
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this detective story tinged with a little magic and set in a version of ancient Rome. Felix the Fox is an investigator who started training in the magical arts as a young man but had to abandon his studies when his father's business collapsed. Nevertheless he is sensitive to natural magic and is able to cast simple spells. Normally employed to find lost jewelry or follow cheating spouses he is called in by a rich merchant to investigate the death of his son, Caseo who has d ...more
Richard Knaak
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From my review site

Please Like the review page to keep up with it.

by Assaph Mehr

(Purple Toga Publications 10/15)

For those who like to cross genres a bit, MURDER IN ABSENTIA by Aussie writer Assaph Mehr is a skillful blending of historical fantasy with mystery set in a realm very much like ancient Rome. In fact, fans of the Falco mysteries by Lindsey Davis (which I also recommend) should very much enjoy this novel, first in a series featurin
Assaph Mehr
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: Lovers of detective mysteries, fantasy, and ancient Rome.
[Editorial Review] This is a story of Togas, Dagger, and Magic - the book I always wanted to read. It balances my favourite genres of historical mysteries, ancient Rome and fantasy.

The best compliment I got was from one of my beta readers:

This book gave me a ‘book-hangover’ - I could not get my head out of the world of Felix for days after finishing it!

I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Jane Jago
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Murder in Absentia introduces us to Felix the Fox and his world.

Felix is the son of a bankrupt suicide who makes his living solving mysteries. He lives in Egretia - which is not Rome.

I choose to emphasise not Rome because Egretia is the author’s own creation. It is a world based on ancient Rome but with its own life and its own particular ideas and ideals. This is an interesting and complex notion, that is handled with some skill. The world Felix inhabits quickly takes life, and the sounds, sm
Mary Woldering
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
CSI – Ancient Egretia -A Great fantasy Whodunnit!
Murder in Absentia
Imagine a place called Egretia which is quite like ancient Imperial Rome. Now imagine an important politician’s son has been found dead in his bed. The youth’s body reveals his death was of a questionable nature. In fact, there is evidence that arcane magic of the darkest order brought about the young man’s demise. Not wanting to have this event investigated through normal means (because the scandal could ruin his career) the ma
Jessica Jesinghaus
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Check out this review, and many more, on my blog

4.5 out of 5 stars

A young man from a politically powerful family is found dead under strange circumstances. A wily investigator with wit and resourcefulness to spare is hired to investigate the matter and help the boy's family keep the sordid details from a gossip-hungry public. Sounds like the makings of a great detective story, right? Absolutely! But did I mention the tale takes place in a fantasy city called
Nerdish Mum
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, ebook
I was lucky enough to receive an ebook coy of Murder In Absentia directly from the author Assaph Mehr in exchange for an honest review.

Murder in Absentia is a crime story set in a fictional city called Egretia in ancient Roman times. The main character is Felix the Fox who is a private detective of sorts, who is called upon to solve the murder of the son of a senator. He must use all his cunning, wits and magic to solve the crime.

The story is fast paced and well written and is extremely enjoyabl
Faustus Eugenius
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Murder in Absentia is a thoughtful and complex novel which superbly blends Historical Fantasy with Mystery - engaging the reader in the material with both a well-structured and historically rooted fantasy world, with both the deep drama and the dark conspiracies of an ancient Roman society. The main character has a well-developed personality, and a keenly observant and methodical nature, but the writing style of the author also allows the reader to identify with him, and more personally experien ...more
Terri Wilson
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know nothing of ancient Greece and Rome except what I read in Edith Hamilton's book when I was forced to read it in school. However, I enjoy urban fantasy in any time period. I also like historical fiction. So when given the opportunity to read historical fantasy I jump on it. This book was awesome and I'm so glad I read it.

Before reading it, you need to know that the author sprinkled in many Latin words and phrases. He seemed to find the magical balance between authenticity and overkill. The
E.M. Swift-Hook
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rara avis.

'Our city may be named after the regal birds that grace our shores, but our people march on squid.'

Egretia is Ancient Rome, but Ancient Rome in a parallel universe where magic is real. This is historical urban fantasy at its best and it will appeal to all who have enjoyed the works of Lindsey Davis, Rosemary Rowe, Steven Saylor, David Wishart, Ruth Downie, Jane Finnis and a handful of other authors who have set their whodunit solving heroes lose in a Roman setting. But Assaph Mehr's he
Anindita,  A Bohemian Mind at Work
This review was sitting in my draft collection of posts for a long time. Today, I made time and had decided to do a makeover before taking my bohemian mind out for a walk. That's how I found Felix lurking in the corner of my forgotten posts.

A detailed review of this book and others appear on my blog A bohemian mind at work.

Murder in Absentia is the first novel in the series.
Set up in the imaginary Rome-inspired territory of Egretia, the story runs as a typical murder mystery/crime thriller with
Susan Marcus
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: surreal
Assaph Mehr’s Murder in Absentia takes place in a fantasy offshoot of ancient Rome. It borrows artifacts and settings from different periods in Roman history and seasons them with knowledge and the application of magic unknown to the republic and empire fans know and perhaps love. The murder mystery driving this narrative involves a rebellious cult, or so the super sleuth Felix the Fox thinks as he pursues clues along the coast of Mehr’s creation, Nuremata. Mehr has a deep and abiding interest i ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Overall rating = 3.5 stars

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Murder In Absentia is Assaph Mehr's debut and a book which snagged my interest simply with its description of being a mixture of Harry Dresden & set in a magical Roman facsimile world.

The story begins with Felix the fox our protagonist who has an intriguing past (hinted at throughout the book) and is asked by a high-ranking member of Egretia's political class to look into his son's death. The death of his son while abnormal has more of an effec
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
His father disgraced and impoverished, Felix the Fox uses his cunning and magical training to ferret out secrets for paying customers. When he's called upon to investigate the mysterious death of a young man from a patrician family, Felix finds himself in the midst of a black magic cabal with sinister intentions.

"Murder in Absentia" takes the tropes of the fantasy genre and combines them with the detective novel, set in a world that's based on Ancient Rome. The Roman-esque setting is fully reali
Clare Meyers
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Murder in Absentia creates a fantasy world not too often seen in most modern stories these days. We don’t often seen Ancient Rome used as inspiration, and those that do have a habit of paving over the bits that would clash with modern sensibilities. This setting is detailed, obviously well-researched, and full of the kind of character that both draws the reader in and also keeps them interested.

But this book is a murder mystery first and foremost, and the Roman-inspired setting doesn’t draw away
Roberta Franklin
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Private eye Felix 'the Fox' takes on a case for a rich and influential citizen of Egretia: to find the people responsible for his son's death. Felix realises from the moment he sees the body that the case, though well paid, will be both difficult and dangerous: it is a case of necromancy, an ancient rite that has long been prohibited in Egretia...
With this clever and intricate murder mystery, Assaph Mehr takes us way back into time to an ancient state modelled on Ancient Rome; in a fascinating w
Brent Harris
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Murder in Absentia is one of those rare books published by an indie outfit that sets the bar high for the rest of the publishing world. Mehr makes us believe we are in a magical version of Ancient Rome (Egretia), immerses us in a historical richness that even some purveyors of historical fiction lack depth in, and yet still delivers a compelling whodunnit which keeps the pages flying. The magic is no mcaguffin -- Mehr offers his protagonist, Felix the Fox, no easy shortcuts. His mission: solve t ...more
Lucia Davis
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Murder in Absentia" is one of the books up for review for the 2018 Mystery Thriller Week, which is why I picked it up. The book is set in a fantasy world with magic and magicians, but combined with a lot of elements from the old Roman civilization. I had Latin in High School for three years, so I thought it was an interesting concept. I imagine the writer spent a lot of time getting the details right, and although I am no expert, I thought it was very impressive.

The story itself is a whodunit m
Joni Dee
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Murder in Absentia is Assaph Mehr's debut novel. It is a Fantasy/Historical Thriller which takes place in Egretia, a made-up city emulating the ancient Roman Republic.
Felix the fox, a disturbed anti-hero with a heavy past, is being hired to investigate the death of the son of a powerful Rhone (a made up position which is elected by a certain guild, in our case the Merchants' - an equivalent or just below the Roman Praetor if you would). It seemed that forbidden black magic was involved in his de
Ruth Downie
Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike. In Egretia, magic is real and potentially deadly. While rival incantatores have been banned from calling up competing winds to speed ferries across the bay – they’ve drowned too many innocent sailors – the powers of magic appear to have fallen into malevolent hands. Failed incantator Felix the Fox investigates a mysterious death in a growing atmosphere of menace. I can’t help thinking the idea of Death by Magic mig ...more
AC Authors
Murder in Absentia is a fantastic blend of history, mystery, and magic. Travel back in time to an ancient Roman setting with the murder of a young man, a gritty detective not afraid to get his hands dirty, and brilliant plot filled with action and adventure. Witty, vivid, and very well-written, this book is one you won’t regret picking up. Fans of Tolkien, the Dresden Files, and the Remy Chandler series are going to love it.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read. The world building was second to none and the book drew me in completely. I wondered how the fantasy element would fit with the world of Ancient Rome, at first, but the storytelling was so well executed that it was seamless. I was utterly immersed in the setting of this book.

I can't wait for more of Felix!
Jack Massa
This book has everything: a hard-boiled, plodding, and roguish detective, an intricate mystery, surprising plot twists, a gallery of intriguing, shady and sometimes hilarious characters, touches of horror, even a climactic sword and sorcery battle.

The setting, a fantasy world based on Ancient Rome, is portrayed with erudite detail. Want to know how the ancients worked magic? No problem. Want to know how they manufactured fish sauce? That's in here too.

Mehr knows his Ancient World like a schola
Jonathan Maas
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. A bit of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, with a bit of Julian by Gore Vidal, with a bit of fantasy mixed in.

Felix the Fox sleuths like Sherlock, but is perhaps more like Mycroft Holmes in the sense that he is a bit more likeable than Sherlock.

But like Mycroft, he sleuths, sleuths, sleuths - and then there is action.

Mehr excels with this book, but excels particularly well in a few regards:

* Again, there is a great mystery involved - if you like Sherlock Holmes, you'll love this.
* S
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by this book after a discussion about fish sauce and whether or not it was Felix's favorite food with the author. Assaph gifted me with this e-book so that I could find out the answer. I enjoyed following Felix along during his investigation of the murder of a young Egretian man. The book captivated my interest and I found I was having a harder and harder time putting the book down. I loved the historical setting and the place that Assaph created. There are some very i ...more
Gabrielle Mathieu
The setting is Egretia, a town in a fantasy world modelled on the Roman Empire, and the occasion is the crime of murder. Felix the Fox, our narrator, is a detective with some extra talents. Not only is he good at winkling out information, watching people and drawing conclusions, but he’s also familiar with magic—both the kind that’s allowed in his homeland, and the more dangerous, forbidden kind. Magic can be dangerous. Felix’s former best friend, now an uncanny beggar with frightening eyes, was ...more
Guy Donovan
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So what can I say about “Murder in Absentia” that a whole lot of people haven’t already? It’s a great book, set (sort of) in a historical period far too often ignored by fantasy authors both indie and “professional” alike. As I did with Mary K. Woldering’s “Voices in Crystal,” I love that “Murder in Absentia” is a fantasy tale set somewhere other than either Medieval England or another world that is obviously modeled on it.

Masterfully told in a way that blends magic and the mundane, the story c
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I have always been fascinated by ancient Rome, from the time I was in primary school and first got my hands on Asterix. This exacerbated when my parents took me on a trip to Rome and Italy – I whinged horribly when they dragged me to “yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling”, yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

A few years ago I randomly picke

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Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic (2 books)
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“Never practice magic when you're drunk.” 12 likes
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