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All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
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All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger (Pliny the Younger #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  114 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
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's own slaves, a beautiful blonde, 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
Vicki Cline
Oct 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in ancient Rome
Shelves: roman-mysteries
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.
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Lance McMurchy
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
A solid story of Pliny the Younger in the the late half of the first century. The story used a combination of the cult of Hecate, Christians, Judaism, barbarism and Roman law in the investigation of a murder in the roman city of Smyrna. The subtle use of christian scripture by Luke and timothy was corny. Groan. And i felt the story got a bit convoluted at times. But I thought the author did a good job to bring about the final climax - I didn't see that happening.

Would read more from the author.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Gregoire by: Jane
3,5 étoiles
J'ai aimé Plinius (parfois exaspérant mais qu'attendre d'autre d'un jeune noble romain, héritier du Grand Pline l'Ancien ?) et Tacitus, deux personnages aux caractères crédibles et attachants ainsi que leurs faits et gestes j'ai aimé les détails de la vie de tous les jours au 1er siècle dans l'empire romain. Par contre, l'intrigue n'a pas su me surprendre ni me convaincre (ou m'intéresser ?) donc un avis mitigé ++++ pour les détails et certains personnages et - pour l'enquête crimine
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: mystery and ancient history readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-a-d-rome
Pliny took some getting use to. For about the first half of the book I found him to be an arrogant, know-it-all. Once things settled down and was able to focus on the mystery in front of him, he was much more tolerable.
(view spoiler)
Brett Bydairk
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, history
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
Really enjoyed this book. Lots of real characters including Pliny the Younger, Luke the gospel writer, Tacitus the historian and other smaller roles. No time in Rome and yet lots of Roman history here. Everything you need to know to solve the mystery is in the plot and it moves along at a nice pace.
Diana Sandberg
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.

May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-rome, mystery
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.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun, fast paced murder mystery set in Ancient Rome with historical figures at the center, creating the job of investigator. Entertaining and breezy, the book has plenty of historical detail to keep one interested throughout.
Georgia Lengyel
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Hard book to read in the beginning. Didn't seem to flow, but once you got used to how the author wrote, it went rather smoothly. This is the first mystery from early in the first century that I have read. Quite interesting.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finished-myst
merely so-so.
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was the second of Bell's Pliny books I read, and I enjoyed it. The writing is tight, characters appealing, and the research excellent.
Jul 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quit-reading
I actually quit reading this book, it was very hard to follow and slow moving.
Kenneth Wilson
rated it it was amazing
Oct 25, 2014
Mike Zirpoli
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Feb 22, 2017
rated it it was ok
Dec 24, 2014
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Oct 30, 2014
Scott Moore
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Dec 31, 2015
Susan A Myers
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Dec 11, 2016
Hank Cox
rated it it was ok
Jun 16, 2015
Nancy D.
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Sep 15, 2014
Greg Cleary
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May 04, 2016
Alex Saltiel
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Sep 14, 2013
Kate Bulman
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Apr 02, 2010
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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 ...more
More about Albert A. Bell Jr....

Other Books in the Series

Pliny the Younger (6 books)
  • The Blood of Caesar: A Second Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
  • The Corpus Conundrum: A Third Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
  • Death in the Ashes: A Fourth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
  • The Eyes of Aurora: A Fifth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
  • Fortune's Fool: A Sixth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger

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“Chryseis was in another wing in the back of the house and would not be aware of our presence. I hadn’t taken much notice of the house on my previous visit, but I now realized it was quite large, and built on the Roman model.” 0 likes
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