A translation from the German by Richard and Clara Winston brings us a clever and funny mystery set in Rome during the period of the Gallic wars. Strong personalities all, our central characters are the boys of Xanthos' school and their teacher, Xanthos himself. More particularly, the story focuses on Caius, whose father is a senator, and Rufus, whose father is a general in Gaul. As schoolboy ranks lend themselves to politics on a grander scale we find Rufus (whose father has lost an important battle) being thrown into irons for having defaced a temple with a rude inscription defaming Caius. Yet Rufus denies his guilt and Xanthos is found one day besten up and robbed of a series of seemingly valueless articles. At last the culprit is found to be Tellus, a crafty ex- consul, who has unsuccessfully tried to play politics through the younger generation. A good story and with its careful attention, to Roman ways this has its sparkle too.