The Secundus Papyrus
Alfred Noyer’s second historical mystery takes the reader to the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, where the physician Getorius and his wife Arcadia race to discover why all those connected with the discovery of potentially dangerous papyrus are being murdered. Present when the papyrus was found in the Gothic Queen and Empress Mother Galla Placidia’s mausoleum, Getorius and his wife know they are slated for death also. Not knowing if they are to be victims of political intrigue, the husband-and-wife-team use their knowledge of medicine and languages to glean clues from corpses and symbols found. Noyer’s characters are believable, and the interesting insights on the medical practices of the times are amusing as well as informative. Noyer’s ability to portray the religious strife between the numerous Christian cults and the impact on politics and ambition is also well done. The Secundus Papyrus is an enjoyable portal to Rome, her people, and problems in her penultimate stage of Empire.