Gaius Petrius Ruso is a down-on-his-luck army doctor now living in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire. Soon he's caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes....
When young bookseller Nicholas Elyot discovers the body of student William Farringdon floating in the river Cherwell, it looks like a drowning....
In this Edgar Award-nominated mystery, John Maddox Roberts takes listeners back to a Rome filled with violence and evil....
An atmospheric debut novel set on the gritty streets of Victorian London, Some Danger Involved introduces detective Cyrus Barker and his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn....
When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town....
Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her first Egyptian adventure...
Victorian explorers have heard there is a remote plateau where dinosaurs still survive....
Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they've just moved....
Vatanen, a journalist, is feeling burned out and sick of the city....
When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death....
Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, a master of disguise....
From the internationally acclaimed best-selling author of Code Name Verity comes a stunning new story of pearls, love and murder....
World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate....
The Whole Art of Detection is a must-listen for Sherlockians and any fan of historical crime fiction with a modern sensibility....
At the end of her first unsuccessful season out in society, Lady Georgiana has all but given up on attracting a suitable man - until she receives an invitation to a masked Halloween ball....
DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she's seen a girl die in her arms, and her daughter will never leave the hospital again. She's gotten tough on the criminals....
A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores....
In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie's Bistro has always been warm and welcoming. Nowadays 22-year-old Siobhan O'Sullivan runs the family bistro....
With Tilla getting icy greetings from his relatives, Lucius's brother-in-law mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso family teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it's hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family's chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins.
Engrossing, intricate, and - as always - wonderfully comic, Ruth Downie's latest is a brilliant new installment in this irresistible series. This is everything we've come to expect from our charming, luckless hero.
[The author is known] This is the third of Ruth Downie's books, and it has maintained the same high standard. These are fun reading or listening as the case may be and I have all three on my mp3 player. I am awaiting the next installment. If you are a history, historical fiction or love things Roman, it is a great series, written with whit and a bit of irony.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
As a fan of Lindsey Davis and Stephen Saylor, I am thrilled to have found Ruth Downie. In her third book featuring Roman medicus during the reign of Hadrian, she takes it to the next level. The first two books were enjoyable, but this volume is in an entirely different league. The change of setting from Roman Britain to Transalpine Gaul (modern Provence), takes Ruso into the bosom of his very dysfunctional family (who had been alluded to in previous books). While it's possible to read this book as a stand-alone, I would highly recommend reading the books in order in order to appreciate the characters' histories and development. I have a background in Classical History, and while I won't pretend there aren't some anachronistic elements, I was impressed by how much research Ms. Downie must have done to recreate the period. Unlike the more free-thinking Falco of Lindsey Davis's books, Ruso seems more a product of his era and culture.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I tend to listen to non-fiction more than fiction, but I am thoroughly engaged by these novels.
I have (via their websites) nagged both Ms. Downie and Mr. Vance about the release of the audio version of her latest Ruso novel. It is well worth the wait! I enjoy this series so very much -- I have listened to Medicus and Terra Incognita many times.
I find the protagonists delightfully drawn, and the secondary characters unique and very engaging.
I missed Albanus in this one, though...his eagerness and simplicity are a wonderful foil for Ruso's cynicism and weariness.
The environmental background is delightfully portrayed. I felt the dry heat of southern Gaul and, with Tilla, found myself wishing for the cool, moist air of Britannia. Her conclusions about the nature of "civilization" are spot on.
Mr. Vance's narration is a perfect match for these characters. I can't imagine anyone else doing Ruso. He captures Ruso's gruff manner as well as his well-hidden empathy and heart. In this book he gives well-nuanced voice to the new characters introduced into Ruso's world. I especially enjoyed the tone of his interpretation of Marcia, Ruso's half-sister. He gives her just the right touch of adolescent whining, pouting and rebellion!
"Gods above!" I rate this as a 5 for sheer enjoyment.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
Knew nothing about this book when I picked it - just sounded interesting. I"ve always thought I'd like to read something about Ancient Rome (or Tudor England or Egypt under the Pharoahs} that dealt with everyday life and relatively ordinary people. To be sure, this is a murder- mystery, but it's full of everyday occurrences - meals and broken feet and shopping and petty grievances. The characters come across after about 2000 years as fellow human beings. Ruso is likeable even though he's irascible and Tilla is an incredibly strong and down-to earth woman. There's much humor woven into the fabric of this story which really enlivens it. The only difficulty that I had in reading this was keeping the characters straight - maybe because of the unfamiliar names, but it was hard for me to remember the connections between the characters, All in all, a very enjoyable read. I plan to get the other 2 in the series.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I don't remember ever reading any fictional tale from the Roman Empire that wasn't religious, so I'm glad I purchased this book. Downie's research of Roman law and culture shines through this mystery.
The story involves several aspects of law, family inheritance, debt, divorce, vice and murder. Her knowledge of all of these held my interest when I would have been bored.
Simon Vance is brilliant as always.
I rate this a 3 overall, but that doesn't mean I'm sorry I purchased it. In fact, historical works like this always seem to enhance my knowledge overall.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I have never been a fan of historical fiction. I thought, it's either history or it's not. No need to make up stories about things that really happened. I have since changed my mind.
I started this series when Terra Incognita was featured as a Kindle book for $1.99. I figured, what do I have to lose if I hate a $2 book? Then I couldn't get enough. I wanted to find out what happened to Tilla, a very likable and strong willed woman.
I honestly couldn't care less about the male characters in this series. Most of them seem flat and boring, except for the evil ones. Tilla is interesting and complicated. Not to say this is a book that makes you think or feel. It's just a good story that entertains. It's fun.
As for the people who have said that it is not historically accurate, I say, ppptttthhhhhtttt.... Who cares? We don't know much about that time anyway. The Roman's only wrote from the conquering heroes point of view, and the Celts didn't write about it, or anything else. So Ms. Downie has some room to fill in the blanks.
These are good books. Read them for what they are worth and you will enjoy them.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
This fun historical mystery novel comes alive with Simon Vance's narration. Ruth Downie's writing puts a sometimes amusing face on life in the Roman Empire despite its darker aspects. Downie created engaging characters with distinct personalities and a decent mystery plot. Honestly though, I enjoyed the characters and their dryly humorous interactions well highlighted by the stellar narration so much that the plot felt more like a side show. A very pleasant listen.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
When the summary of Persona Non Grata mentioned a Roman setting, I was expecting a story a bit more "historical" in nature. However, this story (with the exception of gladiators) could have been set in any time period or culture. However, I still enjoyed the mystery and would read something from this author in the future.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is book 3 in the series and finds Gaius Petreius Ruso with a fractured foot and given medical leave. He receives a urgent letter from his bother to come home immediately. He and Tilla go to his family home in Gaul to find that his brother did not send for him but the families major creditor (Severus), who is married to Claudia, Ruso ex-wife did so. Downie weaves a complex plot of ship wrecks, murder of Severus, thief, along with some witty humor of a dysfunctional family. Ruso and Tilla are trying to solve the murder of Severus. Tilla has some adventures of her own from stomping grapes in a vat with another slave; to going with Ruso's sister-in-law, Cate to a near by town hunting for information on Justin (Cate's brother) who was missing in a ship wreck. Tilla and Cate get into a dangerous situation while questioning sailors in a shady waterfront bar and Tilla ends up killing a man. Needless to say there is lots of action, suspense, humor and information about the countryside and lifestyle in Gaul at that time. Downie provides interesting description of the games in the Coliseum and Ruso as the physician to the wounded gladiators. Simon Vance does a great job with the narration. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
With no organized police force someone has to step and find the citizens who commit the dastardly deed. Alight, fun read with a look into Roman day to day life. Ruth Downie does enough with her characters to keep you listening. Simon Vance is one of my three favourite male narrators ( Humphrey Bower and Scott Brick are the others ) and he doesn't disappoint with excellent representations of the varied male characters from different backgrounds and the many wonderful female 'persona'... Worth the credit for light entertainment but too bad that the first two books of the series are not available on Audible.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is a story that is slow to build. Ruso and Tilla return to his family home. A letter and a broken foot sends Ruso into the stifling summer heat of the South of France and his family. He and Tilla face his rackety family, the family's intractable debt problem, the heat of summer, and the hostility of the locals. Ruso feels obliged to sort it all out. Tilla's problems include Ruso's family and the mysteries of Roman customs.
All will be well, but not without a lot of luck and hard work. On the way the readers learn much about the life of Romans at work and play in the South of France. Simon Vance tells a good tale and, although this was my first audio tale of Ruso, I am sure I shall listen to more of the Medicus and Tilla.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The third book in the Ruso series. It's every bit as good as the first two! This time Ruso and Tilla travel to Italy, summoned by a note from his home. He arrives to discover his family on the brink of bankruptcy and flatly denying they sent for him. His brother in law has been killed and his sister is demanding her dowry. Within days, Tilla is being treated as a slave, and their creditor (who happens to be married to Ruso's ex-wife) has dropped dead in Ruso's study. Then things really start to go downhill . .
As ever, Ruso's eye-rolling 'not again' attitude and Tilla's practical nature are great fun as they struggle through an adventure with many twists and turns.
I loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next one.
I was very disappointed in this addition to the series.
Ruth Downie squanders the previous quirkiness of the characters and their relationships; Ruso, Tilla and Valens.
Ruso and Tilla go from quirkily mismatched to frustratingly uncommunicative; and it doesn't work. Tilla is forever being tricked into foolishness, sneaking away, behaving like a naive idiot (uncharacteristically - even given the new location); things between Ruso and Tilla are forever being "misunderstood"; mainly because Ruso is busy with his internal dialogue and Tilla is consumed with doubt about her status. Her spunk has been stripped away to be replaced with a sort of dumb petulance. My god I was wishing someone would clip all the players over the head; and not wishing in a good way.
All the characters are unlikable, and willfully stupid; it seems that's the main contrivance to drive the plot.
Ruso spends the book fixated on his inner dialogue; mulling over ALL the possible outcomes via endless internal questioning; while at the same time missing key conversations because he has stopped listening ... then the conversations either prove pivotal, and he missed it; or have to be repeated when Ruso "realises he's been asked a question but wasn't listening".
The rehashing, and the repeating of relationship interactions (how many times do we have to have the conversation, internal and external, with his step mother going over the same attitudes; or with his brother?).
Simon Vance's narration, so good previously, doesn't help.
Vance has radically changed his approach. Tilla, Ruso and Valens are all different voices; as is the "Narrator". The style was so different, and poorer, I had to check the other book I have to see if was the same reader.
Sadly the basic plot could have done without all this squandered opportunity. It didn't need padding, nor contrivances. It would work without them.
It was frustratingly tedious. I persevered for about half the book then jumped to the last hour to get the ending.
I hope the next installment gets back to value. I'll have a listen and see.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful