The second of our Mystery Month chats, on December 16, is on the first book in David Wishart's Marcus Valerius Corvinus mystery series, Ovid.
I takes some doing to get accustomed to the highly anachronistic vernacular – "pukkah," I beg you! and no one had heard of a recent Vesuvius eruption either in Tiberius' times – but once one is past it, it's a good read.
The storyline is: what did Ovid do/not do that does not allow even have his ashes brought back to Rome? Corvinus, as substitute family patron, is asked by Ovid's stepdaughter Perilla to negotiate to get them back. Without success, he is stone-walled wherever he turns. Since there are many guesses but no real answers to the cause of Ovid's exile, all this is fair game for the novelist, and the author comes back with a real doozy. The reader knows more than the sleuth, as excerpts from Quinctilius Varus' "diary" are interspersed in the book. It's fun to follow Corvinus' internal reasonings, leading from red herring to red herring. And to a happy ending, in more ways than one.