All Roads Lead to Murder

Written by Albert A. Bell jr.
Review by Suzanne Crane

There’s a new detective to add to the ranks of historical mystery, and his name is Pliny the Younger. All Roads Lead to Murder is set in the first century Roman province of Smyrna, when the murder of a not-so-agreeable fellow traveler occurs at an inn. With the aid of sidekick Tacitus (yes, the famous Roman historian), Pliny initiates the investigation until it can be turned over to the proper Roman authorities. With everyone a suspect, Pliny must use his talents of observation and deduction to ensure that not only is the murderer brought to justice, but also so that he himself will not be the next victim.

The author brings to the reader the many cultures that were yoked under the politics and power of ancient Rome. The novel is well written and informative. If Pliny’s narration sometimes feels a tad flat, it certainly is excusable, as even Pliny describes himself as somewhat of a prig. The colorful characters, both fictional and historical, are well blended to reveal the sordid web of money, greed and ruthlessness hidden behind the facade of civilization. One hopes to see Albert Bell’s Pliny again in the near future.