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ALL ROADS LEAD TO MURDER
by Albert A. Bell Jr
High Country Publishers Ltd, October 2002
246 pages
$21.95
ISBN: 097130453X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In April, AD 83, a traveller is shockingly murdered. As no Roman magistrates are on the scene, Pliny the Younger takes charge of the case. Suspects abound, but can Pliny track down the killer before he is made the next victim? Even with the help of his friend Tacitus, it is going to be a difficult job.

I usually don't read historical mystery fiction, as I prefer to stick with modern day events and technology. However, I made an exception for 'All Roads Lead To Murder' and I am pleased that I did. It is a pleasant, fun read with humour mixed in with the darker side of Roman life. Bell tries to show many aspects of Roman laws and idea, from their distrust of the Christians and Jesus Christ to the harsh treatment of slaves. He draws parallels with the current legal system and those that work in it, but never loses sight of the fact that he is writing a mystery novel.

His characters are very detailed. As he explains, there are always difficulties when working with real historical people. He has taken true facts, such as the existence of governors and elements of their personality, and from that point on, developed them to fit his story. He includes a large cast, all of whom have their own personality and add different levels to the novel, from humour through to menace.

Although this is a mystery, it is not a 'whodunit', as Bell chooses to have one main suspect throughout. It is more about proving how it was done and bringing the guilty party to justice. It appears that this is the first in a series and I would have no hestitation in reading another novel starring Gaius Pliny. 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 field with modern day mysteries.

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Reviewed by Luke Croll, September 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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