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Edited by Mike Ashley

Constable Robinson £6.99pbk Rel: September 2003

Reviewed by

Ayo Onatade

With twenty stories, seventeen of them brand new and an introduction by Steven Saylor this is a worthy addition not only to the series of "Mammoth Books" edited by Mike Ashley but also to the rather limited series of historical crime fiction anthologies.

Under the capable and knowledgeable hands of Mike Ashley we have stories ranging from well-known authors of Roman crime fiction such as John Maddox Roberts, Caroline Roberts, Rosemary Rowe, Mary Reed, Eric Mayer and, of course, Steven Saylor also including authors not normally known for writing Roman crime fiction such as Michael Jecks and Peter Tremayne.

The stories not only cover a number of different periods ranging from when Rome was establishing its pre-eminence in the Mediterranean world, Caesar’s invasion of Britain to after the fall of the Roman Empire, but also have a number of different settings including the City of Rome and remote outposts of the Roman Empire.

Roman Whodunnits is a bonus to those readers that enjoy historical crime fiction, especially those set in Rome. The stories in this anthology are varied and contain some well-known protagonists such as Steven Saylor’s Gordianus the Finder, Mary Reed and Eric Mayer protagonist John the Eunuch, and Libertus by Rosemary Rowe to some lesser-known ones such as Michael Kurland’s Quintilian and Sollius the Slave Detective by Wallace Nichols. I always believe that anthologies in general are great books to have. You can dip in and out of them and do not have to read the stories in order. As the stories are so varied everybody’s taste should be covered. Mine certainly were. This anthology is a cornucopia of goodies and well worth the price tag.

Roman Whodunnits is a must not only for lovers of historical crime fiction but anyone who enjoys dipping into anthologies. A most welcome and long overdue addition.