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Summary

A scandal is threatening to engulf the popular spa town of Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The wife of Ruso's best friend, Valens, has been found dead in the sacred hot spring, stabbed through the heart. Fearing the wrath of the goddess and the ruin of the tourist trade, the temple officials are keen to cover up what's happened. But the dead woman's father is demanding justice, and he's accusing Valens of murder.

If Valens turns up to face trial, he will risk execution. If he doesn't, he'll lose his children.

Ruso and Tilla do their best to help, but it's difficult to get anyone - even Valens himself - to reveal what really happened. Could Ruso's friend really be guilty as charged?

©2018 Ruth Downie (P)2018 Tantor

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Keeps you guessing right to the very end.

Ruth Downie once again has produced a highly entertaining whodunnit set within the beautifully recreated world of Roman Britain. Twisting plots and light, dry humour go to make a fun novel. All set against the interplay of Russo and Tillas’ less than conventional marriage. Simon Vance reads brilliantly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The odd couple in Bath

Well narrated by Simon Vance. Mystery sustained throughout. The setting in Aquae Sulis takes note of recent archeological finds and scholarship but provides clarification in a postscript between imagination and history (which evolves over centuries, anyway). I know Bath quite well (my daughter was at uni there) and although the remaining Roman structures, including the baths, are substantial, they are generally overlaid by Georgian and Victorian developments, obscuring our view of this Romano-British tourist resort, long before the arrival of the various Germanic tribes who became the English.
I think Simon Vance made good decisions about accents - the upper class Roman citizens, second or third generation from long pacified provinces (like southern Gaul) probably did speak Latin approximately similar to the ruling class of Rome, but evidence even from Bath itself (those wonderful curses) indicates a British Vulgar Latin; vulgar in this sense is no insult, it’s the spoken language, which evolved into French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian etc. Be grateful agreeing pluperfect subjunctives has gone out of fashion. It seems reasonable to me to differentiate native Britons using accents of their descendants and/or tribal homelands. The Vindolanda tablets and other discoveries of my lifetime tell just how multi-ethnic was the Roman province of Britannia, as was the Roman Empire throughout- Koiné Greek was still important, and Greek the language of civil servants in Rome, and scholarship (Ruso and Valens use it, as doctors, to communicate without being understood, and Ruso’s medical texts are in Greek - of course - so Tilla, now literate in Latin, cannot consult them in his absence.
Technical aspects apart, I like this odd couple, who come from different worlds, from different “wisdoms”, one “rational” and practical, the other “intuitive” and eclectically spiritual, but who have learned each other’s language. Not too bad for the occupying colonist from a colony, in the less than prestigious profession of doctor, and the aristocratic ex-slave from a small, but utterly bloody-minded clan of a big tribe.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very very good

As usual a really great listen and I am looking forward to the next....
hope it won't be too long on coming....

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Yay, Ruso's back

I really enjoy what I call the Ruso series of books and snapped this up as soon as I saw it. It didn't disappoint, it was as nail biting and funny as always. A new location for Ruso and company that inspired me to look up the Roman history of this city. This was a very good listen and well narrated. If you enjoy historic drama type books with a capable but fallible characters, you may well become a Ruso fan too.

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The best yet! But weird accent for Albany’s?

Loved this latest Roman murder-mystery from Ruth Downie - why this author is not more widely known I can’t understand, she should regularly be in the bestsellers list in my opinion.
This one is based in Aqua Sulis (Bath) and I found it fascinating, having recently visited here. I could envisage things so clearly and, as ever, history really came to life under Ruth Downie’s story-telling skills. Ruso’s best friend is accused of murdering his wife - so of course he must go to help investigate, taking his family with him, and meeting up with well-known characters Albanus and Varina when he arrives.
I love how the narrator voices Ruso but always had a question mark over why his wife Tilla (who hails from ‘north of the wall’) is given an Irish accent . . But now Albanus, Ruso’s one time earnest clerk and now school-teacher, has suddenly developed the oddest accent which he didn’t have in the other books . . Trying to pin this down, it could be Scottish, could be Italian, or a strange mix of European accents? I’m not sure even the narrator knew. It’s very uncomfortable and jarring. Albanus had the perfect voice before, gently English, intelligent yet deferential; why was it changed?
So (sadly), I had to mark the performance down, but everything else about this book is brilliant.
Loved it!
Keep ‘em coming, Ms Downie!

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  • Paula A. Rossi
  • 15-04-18

Another great outing! Can't wait for the next one

What did you love best about Memento Mori?

The setting of Ruth Downie's book. You actually feel like you are living in that time. Oh and the humor in the book is just as great as the setting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tilla is my favorite character. She is a strong woman who knows how to successfully navigate various situations. She does not let what others think affect what she knows is right. Of course all of the characters are like old friends.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't really have a specific scene. I enjoyed the entire book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book made me laugh at times. It is a serious mystery that does not take itself seriously.

Any additional comments?

I always look forward to the Medicus books by Ruth Downie. I buy her audiobooks the day they come out and I listen to it right away, even if I'm in the middle of another audiobook. The characters are like old friends. I love finding out what they have been doing and I feel like I know them The mysteries are just complicated enough to keep you interested and red herrings abound! And of course Simon Vance is one of the greatest narrators Audible has. He could read a phone book and I would listen to it. I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series. You will not want to miss a minutes of Russo, Tilla and their friends.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Christian Bonnell
  • 19-03-18

Amazing author, amazing reader

Ruth Downie is a master storyteller, and Simon Vance is the perfect narrator to capture the longsuffering grumbling of Gaius Patreus Ruso. I have listened tha o the whole series, and am eagerly awaiting the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Book Lover
  • 14-03-18

Another masterpiece, look forward to the next

What made the experience of listening to Memento Mori the most enjoyable?

Simon Vance is a master performer with these characters. The story is always original and interesting.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Memento Mori?

Intercourse between the two cultures

Which scene was your favorite?

Sewers

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Pertinax accidental poisoning

Any additional comments?

Tilla's independent spirit

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane Soodalter
  • 06-08-18

Another great story from Ruth Downie

If you have been following the whole series of Tila and Ruso, this is another really entertaining chapter in a great series. I always feel that besides an entertaining and even humorous murder mystery to enjoy, I get to have a free lesson in ancient history! Simon Vance's narration is as good as it gets.

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  • B Reader
  • 20-05-18

Like Coming Home

How wonderful to have another adventure with Tilla and Ruso. Simon Vance makes the characters come alive with his excellent narration and when I hear his interpretation of well-loved characters it's like coming home and seeing old friends.

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  • J. Jones
  • 13-05-18

In The Middle Again

After a trip to Rome Tilla and Ruso are back in Britannia living with Tilla's family when a call comes for help. Valens' wife Serina has been murdered and Valens is the prime suspect. I loved the setting. After the call for help Tilla, Ruso, the baby Mara and the slaves set out for Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The plot is very complicated and I really had no idea who did what until the very end. It was fun watching Tilla do the exact opposite of what Ruso asks. There is that familiar push/pull between the two. Ruso continues to realize what a gem he has in Tilla but that does not stop the tension between the two when Tilla goes off on her own. At the same time Tilla values being the wife of Ruso. The setting was interesting as some of the Roman building can still be seen at Bath and they play a big part in the story. The reader did a good job of bringing the story to life adding to how much I enjoyed the book. More Till and Ruso please.

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  • Patricia
  • 12-05-18

Thank you Ruth Downie and Simon Vance

Ruth Downie’s writing and Simon Vance’s narration are truly a magical combination. I look forward to savouring each book and am never disappointed. The series would appeal to anyone who appreciates exceptional writing and a good storyline about how a medic in the time of the Roman Empire and his wife who was previously a slave, use their intelligence to solve crimes. The entire series is good , clean, fun.

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  • Christie
  • 13-04-18

Fun listen

Like the other books in this series, this one was a fun listen. Downie has captured some details of Roman Britain and brought them to life quite nicely.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-03-18

Great story as always.

Russo and Tolls remain my favorite sleuthing couple. Though in this one Russo did most of the heavy lifting.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-03-18

Great Who-Done-It set in Roman Britain

Wonderful characters set in Aqua Sula, modern day Bath. The story winds through the military, civil and religious life of a major Roman and native shrine. It kept me guessing until the last chapter. Simon Vance's prefomance was brilliant. Well done!