Title: The Thieves of Ostia
Author: Caroline Lawrence
Series: Roman Mysteries #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Mystery, Whodunnit
Dates read: 13th – 14th April 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: They all sat on the carpet in a sunlit corner of the garden.
The dogs on Flavia’s street have started dying mysteriously, and she is determined to find out why. Her investigation leads her to three extraordinary people: Jonathan, her new neighbor; Nubia, an African slave; and Lupus, a mute beggar boy. The four embark on a search for the killer … and that’s when the excitement begins.
This is the first time since I was a kid that I decided to pick up this book. And I’m really glad that I did. It is such a fun, happy, easy read and one that I struggled to put down. The combination of Roman history; a young, slightly too confident heroine; and a mystery that is both dangerous and grotesque work brilliantly together. Unlike many of the other whodunnit type stories that I’ve read, this one isn’t going to keep you up at night. There is just enough going on that you want to know who the real culprit is, but it’s not realistic enough that I could imagine any of this happening to me…
I remember reading this story when I was younger, I already had a bit of a fascination with Greek and Roman mythologies, but it wasn’t until this series that I also became captivated with the daily lives of the people who believed in these mythoi. This is the series that first enamoured me with historical fiction. The first series that made me want to step back in time and understand the daily ins and outs of life. Lawrence is able to bring forward Flavia’s experiences and make them completely relatable to your modern-day teenager.
Although this is a book aimed at a younger audience, it was still quite difficult to figure out who the actual culprit was. Even in my second read through, I couldn’t quite remember who the villain was in the story. I only managed to figure it out a few pages before the big reveal. And I’m pretty sure that it was just my memory kicking in, not any actual brilliance on my part. It’s always fun when you can’t quite figure out the end of a mystery.
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