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The dinner party didn’t turn out the way Aemilius Valerius expected. He didn’t expect a place at the main table. He didn’t expect to drink that much. He didn’t expect to hook up with one of the scarier dancers. And he certainly didn’t expect to trip over the bloody corpse of his host on the floor of the informal dining room.
Rome, 58 AD. Valerius is back from the army. He is young, wealthy and has a pedigree stretching back to the founding of Rome, but unless he can get a job offer soon he’ll never have the career expected of a man of his rank.
One man’s grisly murder, it turns out, is another man’s opportunity. Valerius finds himself working with the investigator Atreus, a plebeian with a chip on his shoulder, to discover the killer. Mad Uncle Maro promised it would be a smart career move, but that was before a second senator turned up dead. Now everything points towards a corrupt legion, an imperial assassin, and the emperor Nero’s mother Agrippina. It might have been smarter to accept that honorary priesthood, stupid hat or not.
There are the added complications of an ex-brother-in-law who fell on his sword, a slum gangster who wants Atreus dead, political pressures, class divisions, and Valerius’ ongoing domestic hassles with his wife, sister, stepdaughter and assorted slaves.
Sub Rosa, a historical mystery, is complete at 129 000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.