Caroline Lawrence brings back one of Flavia Gemina’s old boyfriends in the last book of the Roman Mysteries, and then she adds old Floppy for good measure. We have known for a long time that Flavia was going to get married off in the last book, but to whom? Two suitors make for more complications than one, and besides, Floppy was engaged to someone else when we last saw him. Or might Flavia find a third candidate for marriage?
Whatever happens on the romantic front, Flavia decides she isn’t very good at this detecting business, after all. So, seventeen mysteries on, she hangs up her detectrix hat. In The Man From Pomegranate Street the child detectives look for Emperor Titus’ murderer, and bark up a good many trees. They also need to clear their good names with Domitian, who has been known to double cross before. There is quite a lot of double crossing in this story, and you just don’t know where you are with anyone.
Nubia needs to find happiness, too, but her beloved Aristo has had his eye on so many women, that it’s hard to know what will happen. And now that some of them have found Christianity, will they be any happier?
Back in January Caroline promised me that she’d tie up as many lose ends as possible in this book, and she has tied pretty well. I hope that she can continue tying a little more in her planned trio of books, set in the future, relatively speaking.
Caroline has taken the reader from Enid Blyton to Mills & Boon in seventeen steps, and I mean that in the best possible way. Few authors claim to have been inspired by romantic fiction, whereas many crime writers do mention Blyton as an early inspiration. Add a good dollop of history, and you’ve got the whole series of the Roman Mysteries. Personally I have learnt a lot about the brief period that the books cover, and I was never one for Roman Emperors. My geographical knowledge of the ancient Mediterranean countries has improved, too.
If I didn’t have Caroline’s new series to look forward to, now would be a good time to howl with frustration. I’ll just hold on for a bit and see.