Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holmes on the Range, SPQR III: The Sacrilege

A couple of historical mysteries this time round. 

Holmes on the Range is set in 1890s Montana; one of the drovers at a ranch is a devotee of Sherlock Holmes', and applies Holmes' methods to a murder on the ranch.  I wanted this to be funnier; Hockensmith's humor tends to the slapstick, and there isn't that much of it.  Unfortunately, there isn't much of anything else -- the characters are too thin to carry the novel when the conceit wears thin.

SQPR III is the third story of Decius Caecilius Metellus the younger, as he falls into yet another case based on one of Cicero's orations.  Unlike the previous entry, The Catiline Conspiracy, Decius isn't directly involved in the case that historically went to trial.  Instead, author Roberts uses the case as a jumping-off point for a conspiracy among what would become the first Triumvirate.  That part is a bit dull if you know the actual history, because it's telegraphed miles away.  But the rest is a fun light romp through an interesting period of Roman history.

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