Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Severn House
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN: 0727860089
Format Reviewed: Hardback

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Genre: Historical Crime [1st Century AD, Rome]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  Holiday: Christmas (well, Saturnalia)

Second Act
By Marilyn Todd

        That delightfully bitchy heroine Claudia is back for a ninth adventure, still trying to stay solvent, free, and a step ahead of her long-suffering patrician lover Marcus. This time it is Saturnalia, and Claudia has to show her clients that she had plenty of money to throw around. This entails having a house full of not only whining, sponging relations but a whole troop of thespians. Although it is the festive season, there is a rapist loose--the same one as last Saturnalia and who is determined to have a victim for each of the fourteen days. Trouble is, Marcus thought that he had had the rapist executed a year ago. So who is on the loose now?

      As usual, this is a lot of fun and boasts a fine, teasing plot that I didn’t manage to guess. The mixture of comic actors and the usual harum-scarum adventures makes for a fast, enjoyable read and there isn’t a spare page; here is a novel that does not sag anywhere or tread water. I’ve read books that conjured up Ancient Rome more convincingly, and at times there seemed to be too much modernity for a truly authentic read. There seems to be more emphasis on the plot and the humor here than in some of the other entries in the series, but why not just sit back and enjoy it? There is a lot here to entertain.