During a stop-over in the city of Smyrna in April of 83 AD a Roman citizen traveling in a caravan is brutally murdered. Since there are no Roman magistrates on the scene, Pliny the Younger takes charge of an investigation until the governor of the province arrives. He learns that the victim, Lucius Cornutus, had antagonized several people in the caravan. One owed him large sums of money from gambling debts. A group of women, devotees of a witch-like cult, may have killed him as a prelude to one of their rituals. Two of Cornutus' own slaves -- who were thought to have been locked up for the night -- were actually able to get out of confinement. Most surprising, Pliny learns that Cornutus was poisoned first, then knifed. Is he dealing with two killers or one? And what part does the beautiful blond slave girl play in all this?
Here's what readers and reviewers are saying about All Roads Lead to Murder:
[Bell's] writing is elegant in its simplicity. His opening sentence is perfect: 'I saw the slave girl stumble and knew the cup of wine she was carrying was going to land on her master.' And with that, we're off on the road to Rome in AD 83. I seldom read historical mysteries, but slipping into Albert's story is easier than slipping into a toga." Pat Browning
"Albert Bell has written a wonderful book . . . . I heartily recommend it." Barbara D'Amato, author of the Cat Marsala series and other mysteries
"This novel is blessed with a teasing plot and some lively characters but even this is not its chief strength. Like Steven Saylor this author has the ability to get under the skin of Ancient Rome . . . . This is a real historical novel!" MyShelf.com
"An absolutely wonderful, engaging story . . . ." About.com
"Even if you do not like historical mystery fiction, All Roads Lead to Murder is a very enjoyable tale that can compete on an even playing with modern day mysteries." Luke Croll
"Watch out Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, and John Maddox Roberts! Albert Bell is well worth the read and much better than the legendary threesome." Teri Davis
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