Coffee Break Read – A Body on the Beach

The body had been found washed up on a beach near Segontium and would normally have attracted little, if any, attention as no one had been reported missing. But this corpse had been found to have a ring of Citizenship still attached to a finger, but lodged in the corpse’s throat. To Dai’s impotent fury, Rome reserved the full benefits and privileges of justice for her own children—and it seemed this might be one such case.
Despite the body being partially decomposed, dental records had enabled them to trace its identity. Zirri Yedder had been a freelance journalist with a history of producing cutting investigative pieces that highlighted local issues—local to Mauretania Tingitana that is, the province, where he had lived in the capital, Tingist. Although the pathologist report that Dai read was not entirely sure of the cause of death, it was also very clear that the body had been tortured beforehand.
But the finger was not the finger of Zirri Yedder and he had never been a Roman Citizen. He had, however, been registered at a cupona in the village of Caerhun and the landlady there said he had been there awaiting an invitation to the temple. She had last seen him as he set off to answer his eventual summons and no one had seen him alive since then.
Which was why Dai and Bryn now stood on the edge of the crowd watching as the service began. A security guard hovered nervously near by, trying not to make it too obvious that he was watching them as they observed proceedings.
“Who’d have thought a man who died nearly two thousand years ago having self-labelled as a deity, would still be honoured as a worker of miracles in the modern age?” Bryn’s voice was pitched so it was lost in the chanting from the crowd. Even so Dai looked at him sharply.
“You should be careful saying those kinds of things, SI Cartvel. Especially here.”
Bryn lifted his wrist and tapped the screen on his wristphone.
“Not me, Bard, I’m just reading what our friend Yedder put up on his social media. It was meant as a teaser for his next piece.”
“And I missed that, how?”
“You are a busy man, Submagistratus and these little details…”
“I checked his social media feed, right back for the last three years.”
“Ah, that would explain it then.” Bryn was looking almost smug. “It only posted today—less than an hour ago in fact. It must have been one he scheduled before he died.”
“Spado!” Dai said, but without real rancour. “Was there more?”
The other man shook his head. “No. That was it. Just says: ‘My current investigation is going to make a lot of people sit up and think’, then what I told you. Seems to be his style. Putting up a teaser a couple of days before the main article comes out. This time though, I think he hit the wrong kind of deadline first.”

From Dying to be Cured a Dai and Julia Mystery by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook a whodunit set in a modern day Britain where the Roman Empire still rules and one of the stories in the SciFi Roundtable’s anthology Gods of Clay .

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