Pandora’s Boy

PLOT SUMMARY: Albia novel 6

Offered a job by her new husband’s ex-wife, Albia hides in a store cupboard. But the loathsome Laia has put forward an intriguing mystery, with a young girl dead amidst suggestions of magic; the family is headed up by an Arbiter, not that he seems any use at mediation as he heads for a court case against his own in-laws… Albia’s own father supplies helpful local contacts – suggestions both he and the contacts may regret.

Against the background of Domitian’s return to Rome and incipient gang warfare, our intrepid sleuth explores high-end pampering and celebrity dining in upwardly mobile society. Thanks to a reckless challenge offered to your author, there is a curious subplot involving an Egyptian fertility god and his attributes.

The dead girl’s young friends are an amoral, inane group, squandering their feckless parents’ money; the deceased’s tormented love life leads to dangerous encounters with the occult; Albia must deploy all her own skills, including a mystic reputation that she normally tries to shake off… The Quirinal Hill is presided over by a goddess of health and welfare, but that won’t help. It will take more than sweet-smelling unguents to clean up what is going on here.

Editor: “this is one of the wittiest, tightest, occasionally surreal and fun books from you ever!   Loved it.”