THE EYES OF AURORA by Albert A. Bell Jr.


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A Roman attorney and sometime sleuth distresses his imperious mother by botching his arranged marriage, then ruffles political feathers by probing a violent crime.

At a lavish party in late-first-century Rome, Gaius Pliny celebrates both a decisive victory in court and his impending marriage to the beautiful and wealthy Livilla, a match made by his strong-willed mother, who oversees all with her confidante, Naomi. As the big event approaches, Pliny takes a short trip with his friend Tacitus and Aurora, a slave he grew up with, whose first-person narrative counterpoints the main action. The trio is traveling to offer aid to Crispina, a poor rural woman Aurora encountered with her sick son days ago. At Crispina's home, there's no sign of her or her son, but they find a cryptic message in the form of a word square. They learn that an enemy of Pliny's named Regulus has recently visited and wonder if there's a connection. These concerns fade into the background with the discovery of a woman's headless body on the property. The horror of the situation drives the emotional Aurora into Pliny's arms, and they become lovers, a possibility that's been simmering for decades. Could things get any weirder? Yes, definitely, with the arrival of Pliny's mother and Livilla. The solution to the tangled case involves a kidnapping and a devilish plot to destroy Pliny.

The plot of Bell's fifth Pliny mystery (Death in the Ashes, 2013, etc.) is overstuffed, but the cast is colorful and the period details vivid.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-56474-549-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2014


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