Sunday Serial – Dying to be Roman XI

Dying to be Roman by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook is a whodunit set in a modern day Britain where the Roman Empire still rules. If you missed previous episodes you can start reading from the beginning. You can listen to this on YouTube.

It had got dark and by the time Dai had picked up Bryn it was well past time for the evening meal.
“Don’t worry, Bard, we’ll grab some chips and garum when we’ve done this,” Bryn said cheerfully. “So this woman is a real patrician and she was married to one of the sleaziest of sleazebag bad-boy Romans you could ever come across? You have to wonder how that could happen. I thought them families had all kinds of laws that said unless the entire gens agreed, three augurs all peed purple piss on the kalends and the lares farted ‘Salve Oh Divine Augustus’ in harmony, the marriage wasn’t valid?”
Dai grinned. After the day he had just been through it was good to have Bryn’s caustic humour.
“Something like that,” he agreed. “But maybe our friend Rufus just bribed, conned or blackmailed them all.”
“Poor bloody bitch, if so. Would mean she’d been sold off to a wrong ‘un, a real bad boy.”
This apartment block was almost the twin of the one Dai had visited with Julia earlier that day. The same placid exterior, the same mosaic floors with the same designs. It was like having a bad repeating dream. Except this time there was no corpse to welcome them at the door.  Instead, there was a slightly sleepy looking, extremely beautiful girl. She had light brown hair piled up in a very fashionable style, and the most exquisite blue eyes which were set off by the lapis jewellery she was wearing. Dai regretted that so far they could only see her face on the screen by the door.
“Vigiles?” She barely glanced at the ID Dai offered and did not even ask their names. Dai had the feeling this was something of a routine event in her life. “What’s Roo-Roo done now?”
“Can we come in please, domina?” Dai asked politely. “This is something we need to talk about in person.”
“Well, you could,” she said smiling and then put a ripe strawberry in her mouth and licked the juice off her fingers.
“Uh, thank you,” Dai said, a little uncertain when the door remained closed. The face on the small screen smiled at him.
“You could,” she repeated, “but Roo-Roo would kill me if I had any men in the house when he was away.” She looked very serious.
“This is a very important matter concerning Roo-Roo – concerning your husband, domina. Please let me in, or if you insist I can send for a female vigiles to speak with you?”
Her expression changed and she screwed up her nose as if the very idea disgusted her. It seemed an extreme reaction.
“I’d better hope Roo-Roo doesn’t come home whilst you are here then.”

Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook 

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