Scorpions in Corinth (Philocles 2)

Written by JM Alvey
Review by Chiara Prezzavento

After his comedy’s success in Athens, playwright Philocles and his actors are shipped off to Corinth, to bolster the wary alliance between the two cities. All is well until the troupe’s local fixer is poisoned very publicly, and strange “accidents” begin to plague the comedy’s rehearsals: clearly someone is out to wreck the play and the diplomatic effort behind it – but who? If he wants to keep his friends safe, stage his comedy without disgracing Athens and himself, and appease the Furies, Philocles must find the murderer – while navigating a morass of local politics, tricky auditions, and the volatile tempers of hero cultists.

JM Alvey does it again: as Philocles and his actors leg it up and down the Acrocorinth, worrying about sabotaged masks and elusive clues, the day-to-day workings of Greek theatre and the mutual circumspection between democratic Athens and oligarchic Corinth are brought to rich, vivid life – with plenty of twists and turns, and a touch of humour. Recommended.