Sunday Serial – Dying to be Roman XV

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.

“What new information did you have for me?” Julia asked. “You mentioned something when I arrived.”
Decimus frowned.
“I did?” Then his frown cleared. “Oh yes, I did, we have tracked down where Quintillas Publius Luca and his wife have been staying. They were under assumed names, of course. As he was the one banished, not her, there is no grounds to arrest her. But someone will have to go and break the news to that grieving widow too.”
“She can wait, this needs to be sorted first.”
It wasn’t too long before the sound of hurrying feet announced the return of the guard.
“Yes?” Decimus barked.
“The domina is not in the house. The rear door guard reports that she went out about two hours ago. A hovercab was waiting for her.”
“Thank you.”
The guard made a smart about turn and left the room. Julia poked around inside her head for something to say. She opened her mouth, but before she could speak the guard came back.
“One Llewelyn asking for Domina Julia,” he said woodenly.
“Let him in, man. Let him in.”
Dai came in, looking, Julia thought, distinctly uncomfortable. She noticed there was a new garum stain on his tunic. Didero gave him a wry grin.
“It appears,” he said heavily, “that my lady wife, who may well be connected to your investigation, has chosen to leave home. I have no idea where she has gone, though I fully intend to find out.” He cracked his knuckles, which sounded as loud as a pistol shot in the quiet room. “So just spit out whatever it is you are worrying about phrasing tactfully. I promise not to bite your head off.”
“I can help with the whereabouts of the domina,” Dai’s voice was flat. “I’ve just left her. Considering what she promised would happen to me and Bryn if we didn’t keep our mouths shut, I wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. But. I left Domina Lydia comforting the widow of Urbanus Hostilius Rufus.”
Didero leapt into action and before Julia had chance to think about what to do next, half a dozen grim-faced Praetorians were dispatched to the upmarket apartment building with orders to arrest anyone they found in the Rufus home.
Julia shared a grimace with Dai.
“Why do I have the distinct impression they won’t find anybody?”
Dai shrugged elaborately.
“There’s something else. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Rufus’ death came as news to the domina.”
Decimus looked at him soberly.
“You could be wrong, but you don’t think you are, do you?”
“No. I don’t.”
“So we wait.”
We do,” Julia agreed, then she had a thought. “There is something else we can do. The wife of Quintillas Publius Luca. I think she might be part of whatever is going on. You wouldn’t consider having her picked up, would you?”
“Why not? It smells to me like she could be up to her patrician titties in whatever is going on… apart from anything else she made no attempt to report her husband missing.”
He bashed his bell again and dispatched more Praetorians.

Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook

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