I have to say that when Kelli Stanley's latest, The Curse-Maker, landed on my doorstep, I couldn't have been more thrilled. Ancient Roman England and a murder mystery in Bath (where I've actually been!) made the perfect setting for an escapist evening and I dove in with great anticipation.
For those of you who are familiar with Stanley (and if you've been reading here for a while, then you should be) The Curse-Maker is a return to the series that began with Nox Dormienda. It's also a big moment for Stanley because now both of her series are being published by St. Martins. (Curse-Maker can be read as a stand-alone and makes a great introduction to Arcturus and Stanley's Roman Noir world if you can't find a copy of Nox.)
Arcturus and his wife Gwyna are headed to Bath for a little holiday together, courtesy of Governor Agricola, when they come across a body in one of the town's sacred springs. Since the waters of Bath are supposed to be known for their healing powers, a dead man in said waters is pretty bad for business. The townsfolk request Arcturus's help in the matter and his wife encourages his involvement, which turns out to be too much for the physician and investigator to resist. But the tense situation and the superstitious locals are growing more impatient by the minute and Arcturus soon finds himself at the center of a vast conspiracy.
I've probably said it before, but with Stanley's great devotion to careful research and her attention to every detail, I find myself completely transported when I read one of her books. Whether it's first-century Londinium or 1940's San Francisco, I'm amazed at how effective her words are in carrying me off to those places. And I loved that the whole cast of characters in Curse-Maker seemed so real by the time I turned the final page.
The Curse-Maker is new out on shelves as of today. I recommend tracking down a copy for your TBR stack if you're a fan of historical mysteries and/or noir!
And Kelli Stanley's been busy busy busy lately, folks as this year will also see a return to the Miranda Corbie series as well.