Historical detective fiction

Having just enjoyed Lindsey Davis' Saturnalia, I am in Roman gumshoe mood, and am glad to see that Steven Saylor is bringing out another Gordianus book, The Triumph of Caesar.

Although their writing styles are chalk and cheese, I love both authors. I like Davis' knowing anachronisms and her hero's all too transparent attempts to hide his decent and, let's face it, softie self under macho talk. From Saylor I expect, and get, the feeling that I really know people like Sulla, Catiline and Cicero.

The great parody of “The Big Sleep” that begins “Lead Pigs” was in my mind when I began my first Saylor novel (in Los Angeles, before he was published here), and Saylor's much more 'literary' style and his 19th century novel type dialogue at first put me off. But once I accepted that Saylor is not Davis and vice versa, I found I could revel in them both.

Mind you, the 'Roman Mysteries' series are great, too, in yet another way…

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