The Mammoth Book Of Roman Whodunnits edited by Mike Ashley, part 2
Heads You Lose
Murders take place during the siege of Jerusalem. There is a vigorous enforcement of justice. This whole story was an error of judgment.
Great Caesar’s Ghost
Caesar’s ghost wanders spewing vile calumnies. This confounds logic.
The Cleopatra Game
A spoilt woman’s fiancé dies. This was sexist with the evil hussy making emotional demands and being an offensive intrusion into her fiancé’s family. There are no moral regrets or cunning malevolence. This was silly with a wide use of non-Roman names.
Bread and Circuses
There were no detectives, police or law enforcement of any type in ancient Rome. So why do people keep writing stories with such things? This has no emotional complexity and no hints of the unlimited brutality of Rome as annoying kids investigate bread thefts. This was childish and inaccurate.
The Missing Centurion
Romans get up to mischief in Egypt. This is a steadfast embodiment of all that is wrong with this anthology.
Some Unpublished Correspondence of the Younger Pliny
A bizarre, terrible tale of Pliny and Christians.
A Golden Opportunity
I’ve no idea what this was about.
Fraud and reckless ingenuity and boredom.
Sunshine and Shadow
Another wildly anachronistic tale and the deadliest trial is getting through this.
The Case Of His Own Abduction
This was a totally impossible tale of a slave detective. Slaves were frightened into obedience not PIs.
The Malice of the Anicii
Evil plotting Romans plot. There is promised vengeance and impecunious ingratitude. This was okay.
The Finger Of Aphrodite
There is no abundance of promising characters just a regurgitation of explanations that never ever elicit enlightenment about WTF the point of this was.
The Lost Eagle
A Sister Fidelma tale. The cognoscenti yap about a lost Legion.
Paper Tigers by Damien Angelica Walters
Alison lives in tragic solitude drowning in a glut of self pity, bitterness and cynicism after a terrible fire. She is miserable and unashamedly needy. Trying to recover from her trauma, she buys an antique photo album and is targeted by a charmless, sly, insidious, manipulative ghost. This is a plotline full of ridiculous impossibilities but far from being an opportunistic misjudgement it is all studied nuances, obscure flashbacks and apprehension. This is a good tale of a woman with an increasingly raddled physique and poisonous paranoia who is worn down by a parasitic enabler.
“Screams no one will ever hear.”