Saturday, April 5, 2008

Buried Too Deep-Jane Finnis

Buried Too Deep
Jane Finnis
Poisoned Pen, Jun 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9781590583999

In 98 AD Britannia, twins Aurelia and Lucius Marcella own and operate the Oak Tree Mansio nicely situated on the road that links the coast and Ebvracvm (York). With hostilities abated, business at the inn is booming as travelers make the trek.

A wagon arrives carrying a farmer severely injured by a sword; he needs immediate medical attention or he will die; he tells the Marcellas that sea raiders attacked him while they plundered the cargo of a shipwreck. By the time the Greek physician arrived, the man is dead. Feeling obligated, the siblings take the deceased back to his family near the coast. They also investigate the shipwreck and soon learn the locals are in revolt as outsiders mostly from Gaul have settled on the best land claiming the natives deserve nothing for plotting against Rome.

The third novel Marcella historical mystery (see BITTER CHILL circa 95 AD and GET OUT OR DIE circa 91 AD) is a terrific entry in an exciting series. Aurelia thinks she committed a kunahaura when she realizes things are looking good as business is booming until she states just that before the farmer dies. She and Lucius quickly realize when they reach the Gabreantovicium Sinvs (the coastal bay to their east) that the locals and the Gaul settlers use terrorist tactics to drive each other out; outsiders are not welcome in their civil war. Jane Finnis provides a great Ancient world whodunit as the twins begin to uncover an even more insidious brilliant plot.

Harriet Klausner

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