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Stone Cold

By Marilyn Todd

     The delightfully resourceful and bitchy Claudia is back for an eleventh adventure—her cat Drusilla in tow and long-suffering patrician lover Marcus hot on her tail. This time she has left Rome for Gaul, searching for her long-missing father, but also on the run from some dodgy dealing (as usual). She winds up staying in the luxury villa of the chilly control freak Marcia, who has an entourage of yes-men and several projects on the go. One of these is for a spectacular tomb, but it looks as though others are going to be needing it far more than she does. Young women keep vanishing, and so far the main suspect is mysterious woodsman “The Scarecrow.” Marcia wants him caught, but Claudia thinks that somebody else is the culprit. Trouble is, she also fits the bill for an ideal next victim…

It’s good to read a novel set in the world of Ancient Rome, but not actually in that city. This series has been great for giving its readers a selection of venues, and this time it is Gaul’s turn. In the main, this is a fairly cozy series, but it isn’t afraid to show its teeth sometimes and give a glimpse of how vast the gulf is between modern times and the ancient world. This is a time when the Druids still practiced human sacrifice, and a number of strange deities were believed in by different races. As usual, Todd spins a good yarn and keeps the reader guessing (I didn’t deduce whodunit), and there is enough to interest the reader at all times without any sags in the middle of the story. May this series be very long running.

The Book

Severn House
March 2005
Historical Crime [1st century AD, France]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005