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In At The Death
Marcus Corvinus series, book 10

by David Wishart



      Wine-drinking, purple-striped sleuth Marcus Corvinus returns for a tenth case, and on the surface it sounds straightforward enough. He has to find out whether a young man committed suicide or not. Sextus Papinius was a nineteen-year-old man-about-town with a job investigating fire insurance claims and less money than he needed. He could have committed suicide over a woman, debts, and murky dealings -but did he? Marcus hits the mean streets of Rome in search of clues, hampered by Placida the Gallic boarhound, a dog Perilla has agreed to look after while her owner is on vacation...

Iíve read books with more of a feel for their period, and Marcus makes a lively though anachronistic narrator. But surely nobody can wish for more of a convoluted plot than David Wishart dishes up every time he writes a book? It is a plot based in historical facts too, with plenty of real people among the fictitious ones, and if you can guess what it is all about then I am genuinely impressed. But Marcusí modern and irreverent style does not impress, although it does have the benefit of making the book an easy read and helping the reader through the tangle of clues and red herrings. However, with a plot of this caliber a more restrained and authentic style would hardly make the book dull. This gripe aside, he does manage to convey the vast gulf between 1st century Rome and the present day when he mentions some of the casual violence and Byzantine politicking that marked the period. Even if you donít like the style, surely nobody can fault Mr. Wishart for his wonderful plots, and long may he write about them.

The Book

Hodder & Stoughton
April 2007
Hardback
9780340840368
Historical Crime - AD37, Rome
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Excerpt
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
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