Trade Secrets

So I reviewed Finished Business, and Solid Citizens early, (thanks to NetGalley) but I somehow missed requesting the next Marcus Corvinus mystery, Trade Secrets. I got this from the library to get the next installment of Marcus Corvinus’ murder solving adventures.

By now, whenever Marcus and Perilla start talking about having a relaxing time, I’m pretty sure someone’s about to find a dead body. This time, it comes from one of the matrons in Perilla’s book club (scroll club?), who’s heard of Marcus’ reputation and wants him to look into the murder of her late, not-terribly-lamented brother. Marcus finds the victim is strangely unlamented by his sister, his widow, and his whole family, really, which leads to an intriguing mystery: Who killed the guy no one likes? And why does the family care to have it investigated?

Meanwhile, Marcus’ and Perilla’s adopted daughter, Marilla, takes a break from quizzing her father about his investigations, and stumbles onto another dead body. Because of course she does.

In Trade Secrets, Rome is still an active, cosmopolitan city, still using British slang to identify class markers. This time story had a lot of travel to Ostia and information on the early-Empire shipping trade, at a time when sea travel was extremely high risk, but also the faster and main way to move goods.  This was really interesting to me, and as always, historical detail is balanced by Marcus wandering into a wineshop, getting a jug or three of the local vintage, and gossiping with the other patrons.


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