The Eyes of Aurora: Fifth Case from Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
by Albert A. Bell Jr.
Cover Artist: Painting
Review by Mel Jacob
Perseverance Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781564745491
Date: 09 September 2014 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Eyes of Aurora offers another of Albert Bell's Roman mysteries featuring the sleuth Gaius Pliny, Pliny the Younger, a Roman patrician, poet, and philosopher. Pliny soon has cause to fear for his life and for his family from an old enemy with a new cause to hate him.
Having just won a court case on behalf of his mother-in-law-to-be, Gaius fears his opponent will seek revenge. A short visit out of town will give him a chance to consider his options. Earlier, his slave Aurora met a women and child on the road from Ostia who were in trouble. She put them up at a taverna mid-way back from Ostia. She asks Pliny to talk with the woman who is seeking her husband.
On the trip, Pliny searches the road for any who might be following him. He spots two such people. When Pliny and his party reach the taverna, they discover the woman and child are gone. Told they had left in a cart, Pliny follows in the same direction. To the surprise of all, the woman and child come to his house and beg shelter. She tells them a strange tale about her husband and a plot to kill the emperor. Fearing to be entangled, Gaius enlists the help of his bitter enemy, Regulus, who is a confidant of the emperor. It is to no one's advantage to have the empire descend into chaos if anyone killed the emperor.
Insights into the period, politics, and history of Rome make reading the Pliny series rewarding above just solving a mystery. Readers will also find the solutions interesting and not obvious. Bell has written other fiction, including children's books, and several nonfiction books.