Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Memento Mori (Medicus Investigation #8)” as Want to Read:
Memento Mori (Medicus Investigation #8)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Memento Mori

(Medicus Investigation #8)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  770 ratings  ·  98 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  770 ratings  ·  98 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Memento Mori (Medicus Investigation #8)
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The year is 123 C.E. and physician Gaius Petreius Russo is asked to travel to Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath) by his fellow physician Valens. It seems Valens is being accused of murdering his wife; and Serena’s father, a retired centurion, is intent on having Valens tried and executed for this crime.

As readers of this series know, Russo and Tilla are delightful characters that solve cases despite frequent miscommunication and Tilla’s ability to get into trouble more often than not. Of note, Downi
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
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. They want to find the real culprit. Yes, the couple had not gotten along; yes, Valens' wife did have a boyfriend, and yes, Valens was tempted to do away with her, ...more
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
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
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.
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
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2020 bk 152 My second favorite after the first of the Medicus series. Having left Rome and returning to Roman Britain, Russo and family are summoned to what we now call Bath, to help their friend Dr. Valens. Valens has been accused of his wife's murder. Complicating the murder is a fire in which at least two people died, a disappearing engineer's apprentice at the Bath's (and the boyfriend of Valen's wife), and one very angry father-in-law. A little more complicated that the usual Medicus books. ...more
Fredrick Danysh
While no longer a medic with the Roman army in Britain and living with his wife's family, Gaivas Ruso is is called upon to defend a fellow doctor that he served with. The man is accused of of killing his wife in a religious public bath. I found it an enjoyable read.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a frolic this series is. . . a frolic through Roman Bath in this case. It's a quick paced murder mystery with a bumbling Roman Medicus as the detective and his delightful native wife as assistant. Sadly, Tilla and Ruso know the young wife and mother who has been stabbed, and her suspected husband is Ruso's best friend. This is such good entertainment- being placed in the crush of a Roman festival at the hot springs and baths, enjoying local customs, and local gossip as well as those heart-s ...more
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
Dec 25, 2019 added it
3.5 Stars

It was interesting reading about trying to solve a crime in Roman times Britain. The plot developed slowly with many details revealed about life at the time that made the conversations seem real. However things got convuluted toward the end and I am not clear on how or why the main victim was murdered.
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 colleague a
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,
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Memento Mori, the 8th in the Ruth Downie Medicus series, finds Ruso, Tilla, and their family back in Brittania, this time trying to clear one of Ruso’s friends of a murder charge. The setting is Aquae Solus, which is today’s city of Bath, England. The cast of suspects that Ruso and Tilla must eliminate to solve the mystery is as convoluted, aggravating, and enjoyable as the other books in the series.
Ruso and Tilla continue to grow together, both as a married couple and as individuals. Virana,
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.

Andrew Doohan
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Grove of the Caesars (Flavia Albia Mystery #8)
  • A Capitol Death (Flavia Albia Mystery #7)
  • Pandora's Boy (Flavia Albia Mystery #6)
  • Dead Men's Sandals (Marcus Corvinus #21)
  • Going Back (Marcus Corvinus #20)
  • The Throne of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa #13)
  • Invitation to Die: A Novella of Ancient Rome
  • The Ides of April (Flavia Albia Mystery, #1)
  • The Encircling Sea (Vindolanda #2)
  • The Price of Freedom (Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain #17)
  • Sejanus (Marcus Corvinus, #3)
  • The Germanicus Mosaic (Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain, #1)
  • No Cause for Concern (Marcus Corvinus #14)
  • The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco, #1)
  • Vesuvius by Night
  • The Third Nero (Flavia Albia Mystery #5)
  • Murder at Broadstowe Manor (Stephen Attebrook Mysteries #8)
  • Death Ex Machina (The Athenian Mysteries, #5)
See similar books…
Ruth is the author of nine mysteries* featuring Roman Army medic Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner Tilla. The latest is a novella, PRIMA FACIE. She lives in Devon, England. 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 the person with the same name wh

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)

News & Interviews

You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
47 likes · 20 comments
“It struck her how often men made conversation by telling you things they thought you ought to know. Which was sometimes useful, except they rarely stopped to find out how much you knew already and sometimes they expected you to listen with wonder to total nonsense.” 0 likes
More quotes…