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    Review of UNDER VESUVIUS by John Maddox Roberts


    St. Martin's Minotaur, December 2007

    Now a Praetor, Decius Caecilius Metellus has the opportunity to leave Rome and head for the south of Italy. There he discovers the truth behind Roman stories of the affluent and decadent lifestyle of the Greek cities of southern Italy near Mt. Vesuvius. Although the leaders in these southern cities don't play for the stakes of Empire the way Caesar and Pompey are in Rome, they still struggle for power--and the game can become deadly.

    When the beautiful daughter of a powerful priest is found murdered, the son of a Nubian slave trader immediately becomes suspect. Metellus thinks the evidence thin and the accusations suspicious, but as the murder toll begins to mount, he's forced into a rush toward judgment.

    Author John Maddox Roberts (see more reviews of mysteries by Roberts) continues his SPQR series of mysteries set in the late days of the Roman Republic. Metellus makes an engaging and sympathetic sleuth, and the women of his circle add charm and character to the story. The Roman background adds fascinating detail, and Roberts includes historical characters (e.g., Cicero) in believable ways.

    I found UNDER VESUVIUS to be an enjoyable and welcome addition to John Maddox Roberts's fine SPQR series. I'm happy to recommend it.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 7/04/08

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