Shadows in the Night

Written by Jane Finnis
Review by S Garside-Neville

This is the first in Jane Finnis’ Aurelia Marcella Mysteries, so we are introduced to the eponymous heroine who is the manager of the Oak Tree Mansio – a way station for the Roman Army travelling to Eburacum – offering a comfortable bed for the night, good food, and a change of mount. A perfect place to see all the life and intrigue of Roman Britain go by. Her brother is the absentee owner of the place, so it is very much first-person narrator Aurelia’s business, which she runs with the help of her sister.

When Aurelia finds what she thinks at first is a dead body outside the Mansio, there is bound to be further trouble. This is recently colonised Britannia in the first century AD, and there is still a great division between the Romans and the Britons who accept the Roman way of life, and those Britons who resent the occupation. It is this that drives the story, and which makes it thoroughly plausible. Warmly recommended.