Sunday, 18 July 2010

Glad He Ate Her

A truncated Sunday post today - it's been a busy weekend. We went to stay with the lovely Zoe Sharp and her husband Andy and it was excellent fun. On the downside, I said to Zoe - who's a professional photographer - that I hated photos of me, so she took that as a challenge and forced me to do a photoshoot. I believe she regretted it after about 5 minutes and I now have two photos that I can use should it ever be necessary to have a proper photo. However, please let that never happen.

So, in the absence of a Sunday summary delayed until Monday, here's something ridiculous.

I've always wanted to write a historical mystery but I have absolutely no useful knowledge of any time period - still, I've never let that stop me up until now...

Glad He Ate Her - A Roman Mystery

It was 124 BC, and I was on my fourth dead body of the week. The first three were routine Christians thrown to the lions, but this one was different - the death of a young man wearing the purple robes of a senator would need to be investigated carefully and the obvious solution of poisoning by this year's mad Emperor covered up as usual. I sighed as my sergeant rushed up excitedly, his toga looking as though it hadn't seen the Tiber's washerwomen for a month or two, and his sandals incorrectly laced in his hurry to get to the crime scene. I'd obviously roused him from the dual pleasures of a jug of Falernian wine and the scented arms of the Greek snake charmer Athenia. "Hail Clavdivs!" he saluted breathlessly.

I sighed. "Soggidubnus," I reprimanded him, "How many times do I have to tell you - it's Claudius. We Ancient Romans only spell it Clavdivs because we don't yet have writing implements that do curved letters easily. Now, get down to Headquarters and get the forensics team up here PDQ". I bent down and picked up the calfskin wallet lying by the body. I needn't worry about fingerprints - after all, they hadn't been invented yet.

I pulled out the Chariot Driving Licence and studied the charcoal drawing that looked remarkably like the dead man. Charltonius Hestonius.

At that moment, the Medical Examiner arrived. "Dr Hannibalis Lectorus," I shook his hand. "This is a nasty one. We'll have to get the full might of the CSIus Laboratorius on this one. How do you think he was killed?"

Dr Lectorus licked his lips and surveyed the dead Senator. "Do you see the wheel marks and hoof prints?" he said. "It looks to me as though someone drove over him and then, just to make sure, reversed the horse and drove over him backwards. We've seen a few of these recently."

"You're thinking a Chariot Rage incident?" I said. "What with these and the ram raids, this is getting tedious."

"Ram raids?" asked Lectorus. "That's a new one on me."

"You must have seen the reports in the Papyrii." I said. "Some young rams have been raiding shops in the High Street. Walmarticus have been hit twice. The new spring season togas were abominably munched by the marauding rams."

Lectorus shook his head. "I don't know what's happening to Rome these days. It's going to the lions." We both turned as a chariot came hurtling around the corner at top speed, its horn blaring and the blue flame on top being held carefully by a eunuch. "Excellent, Claudius. CSIus are here."

Three people dressed in the white togas of the CSIus Laboratorius technicians jumped out. I nodded to them "Gilus, Warwickus, Catherinus. I'm glad you're here. Can you get the luminolus on these blood splatters here. And there's a sandal mark in blood by the side of the body. I want the evidence bagged in linen, tagged with papyrus and the results on my desk before the ides of March. Is that clear? And Gilus...stop checking the body for insects. By Jove man, he's only been dead a couple of hours."


  1. Donna - OMG, this is hysterical! I just wonder if Brassicus will arrest the right criminal.... ; ).

  2. LOVE the title! Love the names of the people, the inferences with humour at events, the idea of a eunuch holding the blue flame above the CSIus's chariot...and gee, let's shop somewhere other than Walmarticus. :-) LMAO! And those are Roman letters that were in use that long ago--they invented some great abbreviations! :-) Thanks Donna, and yes it is hysterical!

    When do we get to see those shots of you here? Soon? Or do we have to call Claudivs? :-)

    Bobbie aka Acca Larentia

  3. Margot - thank you! And Brassicus always gets his man :o)

    Acca Larentia - and thank you too - glad you enjoyed it:o) I've e-mailed the photos to you - be warned.

  4. I like the advert on TV where the young woman goes to her local car(t) shop. The green car(t) pulled by a donkey runs on grass she is informed. Not that I take any notice of ad's as they tend to get worse when you do not think they can