After some slow days with me picking up the ‘wrong kind of book’ I was relieved to settle down with Caroline Lawrence’s The Thunder Omen. It’s her third Threptus mystery, and as such is short and a quick read, and it would be easy to think that such books aren’t for the adult reader, or for review, even when it’s one of Caroline’s.
I really must forget all such thoughts, because it was not only precisely what I needed, but an exciting mystery and a history lesson, served up with humour. Who knew ‘a leaky shack full of damp chickens’ could lead to romance and culture and sheer fun?
It’s Christmas – or Saturnalia, as they called it – and Threptus is trying to enjoy it as much as he can, despite the cold and wet and the lack of money.
They need a new roof, and Floridius is selling stolen clay figurines holding clay croissants. (They are ‘really’ thunderbolts, but Threptus sees food everywhere.) And unfortunately Bato’s engagement to Lucilia is still not in order.
Floridius and Threptus set out to sort things out, but despite fake thunder and dyed chickens, they fail at first. WWLD (what would Lupus do?) helps Threptus work out solutions to their problems, and when that’s not enough he can think for himself.
We get to visit a Roman theatre, and once she has stopped being scared of thunder, Lucilia has some fun.
It’s all very educational and very romantic. I’ve said it before, but those chickens are marvellous. And so are these little books, with so much goodness in them.
(What I wouldn’t give for an almond croissant right now!)