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All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case From the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger Hardcover – January 15, 2002


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All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case From the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger + The Corpus Conundrum: A Third Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger (Volume 3) + The Blood of Caesar: A Second Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: High Country Publishers; First Edition edition (January 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097130453X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971304536
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Brings to the reader the many cultures that were yoked under the politics and power of ancient Rome. . . The colorful characters, both fictional and historical, are well blended to reveal the sordid web of money, greed and ruthlessness hidden behind the facade of civilization. One hopes to see Albert Bell s Pliny again in the future. (This did happen. Second in the series, The Blood of Caesar, was chosen a best mystery of 2008 by Library Journal. Publisher's Weekly named the third, Corpus Conundrum: this worthy alternative to the Roman historicals by such better known authors as Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis. --Suzanne Crane, The Historical Novels Review

Superlative job of leading the reader into his Roman world, and the element of a traveling company of near-strangers allows him to develop minor characters to better display the variations of the Roman empire. The plot worked , and the dialogue seemed just right. A winner all around! --Margaret F. Baker, Past Tense, the publication of the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society

Wonderful historical mystery set in the Roman Empire during the early Church and St. Luke s timeframes. . . Historical figures come alive in his expert hands. Rating: five hearts. --Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews:

About the Author

ALBERT BELL is a literary renaissance man. His previously published works include: nonfiction, historical fiction and mysteries. His articles and stories have appeared in magazines and newspapers from Jack and Jill and True Experience to the Detroit Free Press and Christian Century. Bell discovered his love for writing in high school with his first publication in 1972. Although he considers himself a shy person, he believes he is a storyteller more than a literary artist. He says, When I read a book I m more interested in one with a plot that keeps moving rather than long descriptive passages or philosophical reflection. He writes books he would enjoy reading himself. See the other books in the Pliny series: The Blood of Caesar, Corpus Conundrum and Death in the Ashes.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If a writer wants to introduce a new series in the somewhat crowded field of Roman mysteries, he'd better have a unique twist. Albert Bell has done that. Instead of fictional sleuths, he uses historical characters, Pliny the Younger and the historian Tacitus, in the first of what promises to be a fine series. Bell combines historical knowledge, witty writing, and a plot with just enough complications and suspects to lead to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion. Pliny and Tacitus have to find out who murdered a man travelling with them while also protecting a beautiful young slave girl who may be the killer's next victim. I can't wait for the next one!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
High Country Publishers has won another great author from the larger publishing houses. Albert Bell asked an Internet mystery-discussion board for the name of a publisher for his sixth book, a historical mystery set in the Roman Empire of the first century CE [although the tone of this book begs the more traditional AD]. Bell found HCP's Senior Editor, a Roman history buff, and HCP is bringing out ALL ROADS next year.
Bell, an internationally published biblical scholar, writes historical mystery fiction for fun. His present book is more than fun.
Our sleuth is the Roman epistolist and administrator Pliny the Younger, backed up by Tacitus the historian, both at the beginnings of their careers, on the road home from their first political posts. For safety, Pliny and Tacitus join a larger group of travelers, who, it turns out, have come together not entirely by coincidence. Cornutus, traveling with a crowd of domestic help, catches our attention immediately by threatening to strike a clumsy slave. Nobody would notice if Chryseis weren't young, beautiful and blonde. When Cornutus is found dead in his bed in a Smyrna inn, with the heart cut out of his chest, everyone's mind goes back to that incident on the road.
Bell treats us to a complex confection of intrigue served up with blood-red herrings and social questions, in an authentic ambiance of Roman imperial politics. Modern sensibilities are catered to by young Pliny's doubts about the ethics of public executions and slave ownership--doubts that the historcial Pliny expresses in his oeuvre--set against the fact that in his time, no major culture in the world had yet questioned either institution seriously.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The field of mysteries set in ancient Rome is a bit crowded, with Davis, Saylor, and Roberts, but this new entry deserves to take its place at the head of the line. It features an historical character, Pliny the Younger, with his friend the historian Tacitus playing the Dr. Watson role. While traveling back to Rome in a caravan in 83 AD, they stop overnight in Smyrna. The next morning they discover that a member of the caravan has been brutally murdered. Suspects abound: a gambler who was in debt to the victim, a group of women who may be involved in occult practices, an abused slave, and several others. With no Roman magistrates on the scene, Pliny takes charge of the investigation. He soon realizes that the case is more complicated than at first appears. He must find the killer because he himself may have been the intended victim. First rate!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wallau reader on August 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bell has come up with an interesting story line but downright silly character development. He presents Pliny as some sort of modern day "touchy-feely" metrosexual and this spoils what could have been a good historical mystery. Pliny's attitudes toward slavery, Roman justice and his falling for a slave girl are an excellent example of the worst sort of writing error - giving a first century Roman character a 21th century mentality and ethos. Honest to goodness, by the time I was halfway through the book I expected Pliny to be spouting theories of modern forensic science, DNA testing and possible slavery "reparations." This book doesn't even begin to compare favorably with the writings of Davis and Saylor.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By atlee on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am interested in classical civilization and i have enjoyed previously the spqr series. I thought i'd give this author a chance. I'm sorry i did. There is absolutely no mystery involved; rather, the author uses this as a vehicle for a set-up plot: Pliny the Younger and young Tacitus (The Clueless, or perhaps The Hardy Boys) meet the Christians (Luke and Timothy, no less) and together vanquish the Bad Guys (various pagan Romans). Every single plot point is telegraphed and Pliny and Tacitus behave in ways that have little resemblence to what might have been expected of young men of high Roman birth in the first century. The jokes are lame and much of the book involves Pliny pining for his father's books, thinking beautiful thoughts about the Christians, or having dinner conversations whose only purpose appears to be to delineate differences between Roman and Christian practices.

All that having been said,if you are a young Christian, say about 19, and have no knowledge of the period, this could be a valuable starting point for a more serious investigation into the early history of your faith. If so, I give you all best wishes for a happy journey.

atlee
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