Thursday, 1 September 2016

Foreign Bodies - David Wishart

Novelus Hystericus

I found this highly entertaining and amusing. I am not sure that I was supposed to! But I did. It was
Life of Brian meets Up Pompeii. And the reason for that, which surely must be intentional, was this
writer's insistence on creating an historical novel using contemporary vernacular. Normally I'm a
stickler for authenticity in historical fiction but that would necessitate a narrative written in Latin? A
compromising move for a potential readership so I suppose the next best thing is to go in
completely the opposite direction. It works.

Marcus Corvinus has been asked by Emperor Claudius himself to assist in the investigation of a
wine merchant stabbed while napping. All very historically accurate until our hero lets forth a
'Bugger' when something doesn't quite suit him. And it happens more than once, And it still makes
me chuckle.

From my research this would appear to be the 18th, yes, the18th Marcus Corvinus mystery by Mr.
Wishart! My incredulity will confirm that that this is the first I've read and probably my last. Whilst I
enjoyed the novelty of the language and the contrast of an historically accurate depiction of Ancient
Rome the story was no better, no worse than many others. It's a competent, clever piece of writing
with some solid characters. I liked Corvinus’ wife, Perilla, who acts as a willing side sick to our
sleuth of the senate.

I can imagine though that this series does command an army of loyal fans and I have no doubt this
will be well received by them.

I received an ebook copy of this from Breakaway Reviewers

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