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Memento Mori

(Medicus Investigation #8)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  76 reviews
The eighth gripping novel in the bestselling Medicus series, in which Ruso and Tilla investigate the death of the wife of Ruso's friend in the sacred hot spring of Aquae Sulis.

A scandal is threatening to engulf the popular spa town of Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The wife of Ruso's best friend, Valens, has been found dead in the sacred hot spring, stabbed through the hea
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published April 1st 2018 by Bloomsbury USA
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  508 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Assaph Mehr
This is probably my most-favourite Roman-era mystery series, and so - unsurprisingly - I enjoyed this latest volume very much. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that while reading the last bits of the book I missed my train stop.
So yeah, an amazing novel for anyone who loves the genre.

What to Expect

Dumped straight into the action, Ruso is visiting ancient Bath in an attempt to clear his friend from a murder charge. Expect the usual twisting plot (you only think you know what's going on!), enga
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

In this book, Ruso and Tilla (and their young daughter and household) are called to Aquae Sulis (Bath) to help an old friend of Ruso's. This friend's wife has been murdered and the friend charged with the crime.

Ruso and Tilla are always fun to read about. Their lives feel so very real that it's easy for me to put myself back in time, seeing what it was like to stay in Roman era British inns, go to the public baths, travel the wate
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Diving into a new Ruso and Tilla novel by Ruth Downie is like a visit with old friends—if one had old friends who manage to get tangled up with murders wherever they go. In MEMENTO MORI, medicus Ruso’s retirement in his wife’s northern village is interrupted by an urgent message from his friend and former medical colleague Valens, whose own wife has been found dead in the baths complex of Aquae Sulis (Bath). It looks like murder, and Valens himself is the prime suspect.

Naturally Tilla wishes to
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a hard wait for the latest in my favorite Roman mystery series but I wasn't disappointed. This time Ruso, Tilla, Baby Mara and their two slaves travel to Aquae Sulis [today's Bath, England] to prove Valens, Ruso's doctor friend from legionary days, has not killed his wife, Serena, contrary to what everyone else seems to believe and to find the real culprit. Yes, the couple had not got along; yes, Valens' wife did have a boyfriend, and yes, Valens was tempted to do away with her. Although ...more
Jamie Collins
It’s always nice to visit Roman Britain with Ruso, the army doctor and Tilla, his British wife. Their adventures are often set in a place where Roman ruins have survived to the modern day, and this time they are visiting Aquae Sulis, the site of modern-day Bath, where particularly spectacular ruins can still be visited.

Ruso’s friend and fellow doctor Valens has been accused of murder, so Ruso and Tilla and their growing entourage (baby Mara and two British slaves) travel to meet him at Aquae Sul
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Mystery set in Britain in 123 AD, around the time of Adrian’s wall construction. This is the latest book in the Medicus Investigation series. I didn’t read any of the previous books but the story wasn’t hard to follow as the author introduces her characters well.
It was a quick read, the mystery was ok and the historical descriptions of the setting fairly accurate, however the characters’ attitude, behavior and dialogues were far too modern for the times and this detracted from my enjoyment of t
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another fine Roman mystery from Ruth Downie, with a wonderfully visualised historical setting - this time it's Aquae Sulis or Bath. For me, the mystery takes second pace to the brilliant way in which the author brings the Roman past to life, supported by some witty prose and enjoyable characterisation. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Helen Hollick
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Ms Downie writes thoroughly entertaining novels which keep you guessing as to 'who done it'. Her research is accurate and she skilfully creates a rich air of vivid reality of time, place and events. Her characters are an absolute delight to know - even the 'baddies', while poor old Ruso still hasn't quite figured out how to handle Tilla, who remains just as much a delightful law unto herself here in Book Eight as she was in Book One.
From cov
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-most-foul
I look forward to each book from Downie with enthusiasm, and re-read them with enjoyment.

Tilla and Ruso, after the dubious pleasure of their visit to Rome, have settled in the north of Britain on Tilla's family farm. It is a lot of hard work, and Ruso feels like a fish out of water. One of the big difficulties about their marriage is that neither ever feels fully at home with each others' people.

The Britons distrust Ruso, and the Romans look down on Tilla. She is a Briton, he is from Gaul, he ha
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
As a long-time fan of Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis, Ruth Downie's Medicus series still seems like the newcomer to the world of mysteries set in Ancient Rome. Yet, MEMENTO MORI is the eighth in the series already. The series is wearing well, more solid than mercurial.

SILVER PIGS, by Lindsey Davis remains my sina qua non for historical mysteries set in the classical era. It's charm and breezy attractiveness established the foundation for a series that went on for so long, that the protagonist's
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was very happy to spend time again with Roman Medicus Ruso and his British wife Tilla. It is a call for help from friend Valens that brings the family to Aquae Sulis (modern day Bath) to find who actually murdered Valens' wife Serena. As usual, this book provides an intimate and humorous portrayal of married life with the challenges of differing cultures and languages. Fortunately Ruso is the man for the untangling of what happened on a dark but starry night by the hot springs.

I was first a fa
Tim Gordon
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Remember you will die! Remember you will die!

There's really only one reason I got this book: the title reminded me of the Prufrock Preparatory School from Series of Unfortunate Events.

Still, it was a fun read. I liked that the author tried to tell it from the point of view of these Roman characters, rather than through the 21st Century lens of "look how dumb these people were for having these beliefs." It's amazing how many books do that, pooh poohing on their religious and social practices beca
One of the best of the Medicus series so far, which is saying a lot. The characters continue to develop, the mystery is well plotted, and Ruso, no longer as irritatingly hapless as he was in the first couple of books, shows a wonderful wry humor.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love this series so much!!! One of my favorites of the lot.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Author’s Note ” Aqua Sulis is one of the most visited sites in Roman Britain, perhaps because it combines a lovely setting with spectacular remains..over 130 curse tablets deposited in the waters>>
From the floor level down, the Great Bath is much the same today as it was when Ruso swam in it” and "My thanks go to all the readers who travel with Ruso and Tilla”

I travel with Ruso,the Medicus and his wife Tilla and now their extended family, which grows with each outing. Valens who is a colle
Judith Shadford
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
It should have been awesome. Set in the Roman town of Bath, England (Aquae Sulis) in 70AD, Romans and Brits swarming to step into Minerva's healing baths. But it wasn't awesome. Having just finished Doherty's Midnight Man, London, 13th century, I wanted to be plunged (I know, bad pun) into the world of Roman Britain. And Doherty proves you CAN walk such streets and smell such smells and be convinced that demons are as familiar as roosters. Surprisingly, Memento Mori was curiously contemporary, e ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This was not the best entry in this charming series about the medicus (doctor) Gaius Ruso, who lived in Brittania during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. In fact, Ruso served in the army near the border between Roman Brittania and the Barbarians in the North, and was an onlooker to the building of Hadrian's wall.

But in this installment Ruso, his wife Tilla (a native Briton) and their adopted daughter Mara have traveled to Aquae Sulis (today's English town of Bath) to investigate a murder
Italo Italophiles
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Memento Mori brings us a crime story set in ancient Roman Britain, this time in the spa town of Aquae Sulis, today's Bath, England. The town today boasts many Roman ruins including the mineral baths, and those baths play a central role in this tale. As always, the author looks to history for inspiration, and provides amateur historians lots of information and era flavor to enjoy.

Ruso is the main character of the series set in AD123 (in this book). He's a Roman-Gaul (modern day France) who served
Steven Kuehn
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In MEMENTO MORI, we find Ruso and Tilla back home in Britain, settling into domestic life, following a less than stellar attempt to establish a practice in Rome. Unfortunately, the fates have other plans. Serena, the wife of Ruso’s old comrade Valens, has been murdered, stabbed through the heart while visiting the sacred hot spring at Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath, England). And Valens is the chief suspect! Naturally, the temple officials are worried about the potential scandal and impact on the ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of mysteries set during Roman times
This 408 page book would have improved immensely had it been reduced by about 200 pages! I found myself by page 200 yawning and idly flipping through the next half of the book, wondering what more could possibly be added to the already convoluted plot. And the answer was: nothing. The rest of the book was simply a rehash, shuffled around in a different order, trying to act like something new was being added.
I usually enjoy the Gaius Ruso mysteries, so this one was a let down. His slave-cum-wife,
Andrew Doohan
Another wonderful narrative set in Roman Brittania featuring our eponymous hero Gaius Petreius Ruso, a former medical officer with Rome's Twentieth Legion, part-time farmer, and semi-professional sleuth. More murder and intrigue follow in the wake of Ruso and his wife, Tilla, as they head to a Roman spa town that happens to sit atop an ancient Briton sacred place, even though they were there to mourn a dead friend and help another avoid being unjustly tried for murder.

There are many things going
Ken Kugler
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, I have to say that I have loved this series since I first found it. Next, I have to say that this latest addition to the "Gaius Ruso Mystery" series, is another wonderful addition.
Ruth Downie takes Ruso away to Aquae Sulis, modern day Bath, England. His best friend, Valens has been accused of killing his wife and dumping the body in the holy hot springs. As usual, nothing goes smoothly for Ruso along the way from the trip to Aquae Sulis from his and Tilla's home among Tilla's family.

Camilla Monk
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Possibly my favorite Medicus yet! Again, Ruth Downie takes on a stroll through the hills and cities of Roman-occupied Britain. I really missed Ruso's tender and disillusioned eye on his era, Tilla's earnest and rebellious character, and, as usual in Downie's books, the great and varied side-cast. We get re-acquainted with gruff Centurion Pertinax, bumbling Albanus--now married to red-head hurricane Virana. Valens, of course, is central to the story, but it's a different, broken side of him we ge ...more
Jessica Bronder
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ruso and Tilla have been asked by Ruso’s friend, Valens, to look into the death of his wife at the new bath house at Aquae Sulis. It seems she has been found stabbed in the heart and her father thinks that Valens is responsible. Valens is in a troubling spot. If he shows up for trial, he will surely die. But if he doesn’t his children will be without a father.

This story has a little bit of everything in it. There is the initial murder that Ruso and Tilla are investigating. But you also have a ne
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another solid entry in the Ruso series. If Vita Brevis explored the patronage system in Rome, this novel elaborated on religion, ritual, and syncretism in provincial Rome. The cultural and religious significance of the baths and the more pragmatic concerns of their upkeep and management provided the bulk of the novel.

Downie complicated the mystery by throwing in an enraged Pertinax who is resolutely convinced that Valens is responsible for Serena's death.

Out of all the Ruso novels, this one fel
Helen Starbuck
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found Ruth Downie's first book Medicus by accident, wandering around the Tattered Cover looking for new books to read. I like tales about the Roman Empire, so I bought it. The main character of this series is Gaius Petreius Ruso a physician in the Roman Legion who has been shipped off to Britain. He's been divorced by his wife in Rome, who he never could quite figure out, and is stationed in in a Roman barracks in Britain with another doctor friend. He inadvertently begins investigating the wh ...more
Ray Moon
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ruth Downie’s Best Yet

I’m not a verified purchaser, because I obtained my copy the old fashioned way — borrowed from a local public library.

The novel opens with a deadly fire in an inn in Aquae Sulis. When the flames are extinguished and activity starts to settle down, a young woman stabbed through the heart is found in the sacred waters of Sulis Minerva. The young woman, Serena, is the wife of Ruso’s friend and fellow legion doctor, Valens. She had been having an affair with Terentius, an archi
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has definitely achieved favourite series in favourite genre status for me, which is a dangerous place to be because it builds anticipation. Thankfully, Downie is consistently good, and, as in this installment, can write books which are just fun to read. The specificity of the setting is a large part of the success, with both Downie's protagonists bringing defined and limited worldviews to the problems, but it also restricts the breadth of what can be explored. Here, Downie looks at ancient ...more
Aurelia Scott
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review and sound clip:

Review text: If you feel like getting away for awhile, I suggest the ancient British-Roman spa town of Aquae Sulis, circa AD 125. While people are being murdered there, your outstanding guide, Simon Vance, will keep you safe and entertained. In this eighth novel about Roman Medicus Ruso and his feisty British wife, Tilla, we've been called to what's now Bath, England, because Ruso's friend and fellow medicus, Valens, has been accused
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
After a trip to Rome Tilla and Ruso are back in Britannia living with Tilla's family when a call comes for help. Valens' wife Serina has been murdered and Valens is the prime suspect. I loved the setting. After the call for help Tilla, Ruso, the baby Mara and the slaves set out for Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The plot is very complicated and I really had no idea who did what until the very end. It was fun watching Tilla do the exact opposite of what Ruso asks. There is that familiar push/pull ...more
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Ruth is the author of eight mysteries* featuring Roman Army medic Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner Tilla. The latest is MEMENTO MORI. She lives in Devon, England, and is married with two grown-up sons. A combination of nosiness and a childish fascination with mud means she is never happier than when wielding an archaeological trowel.

She is sometimes called R.S. Downie, but she isn't th

Other books in the series

Medicus Investigation (8 books)
  • Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #1)
  • Terra Incognita (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #2)
  • Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #3)
  • Caveat Emptor (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #4)
  • Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #5)
  • Tabula Rasa (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #6)
  • Vita Brevis (Medicus Investigation #7)