It is the Olympics of 460 BC. Nico's best friend, Timodemus, is a competitor in the pankration, the deadly martial art of ancient Greece. Timo is the hot favorite to win. His only serious rival is Parmonos, from Sparta. When Parmonos is found beaten to death, it is obvious Timodemus must be the killer. The Judges of the Games sentence Timodemus to be executed in four days' time. Complicating everything is the fact that Athens and Sparta are already at each other's throats. If an Athenian is found to have cheated by murdering a Spartan, it will be everything the hawks in Sparta need to declare open war.
It's the time of the Great Dionysia, the largest arts festival of the ancient world, held each year in honor of Dionysos, the god of wine. But there's a problem: A ghost is haunting Athens's grand theater. Nicolaos and his clever partner in sleuthing (and now in matrimony), the priestess Diotima, are hired to rid the theater of the ghost so that the festival can begin. With the help of Theokritos, the high priest of Dionysos, they exorcise the ghost publicly while secretly suspecting that a human saboteur is the actual culprit.
"Another Crime Adventure for Nicolaus"
Athens, 460 B.C. Life's tough for Nicolaos, sole investigating agent in Athens. His girlfriend's left him and his boss wants to fire him. But when an Athenian official is murdered, Pericles has no choice but to put Nico on the job. The case takes Nico, with a beautiful slave girl, to the land of Ionia within the Persian Empire. The Persians will execute him on the spot if they think he's a spy.
"Possibly the Worst Mystery"
Nicolaos and his partner in investigation, Diotima, have taken time out of their assignments to come home to get married. But if Nico was hoping they'd be able to get hitched without a hitch, he was overly optimistic. When they arrive in Athens, there's a problem waiting for them. The Sanctuary of Artemis is the ancient world's most famous school for girls. When one of the children is killed, apparently by a bear, and another girl disappears, Diotima's childhood teacher asks her former pupil to help them.