58–62: The Roman Mysteries

Reading Lavinia put me in the mood for the Classical, I think. Hence, these, the “Roman Mysteries”. They are very definitely children’s books. They’re not classics, either, though perfectly fun. But they were easy (I ploughed through them on a couple of coach journeys), and they scratched an itch.

The basic premise is Roman children going around solving mysteries. There is no rhyme or reason to the books I own from the series. It’s a smattering.

I suppose the books are what you might call semi-educational, in that they appear to make an effort to be well-researched and to put that across. I remember really quite liking them when I was younger, but on rereading they don’t quite catch me in the way that some books do. Still far from being a wasted experience, though. (I must just note that Sirens gets really rather adult for a children’s book in places.)


The Thieves of Ostia
Author Caroline Lawrence
Published 2001
Pages 190
Best character Mordecai ben Ezra. Who doesn’t love sword-wielding early Christian doctors?

 The Dolphins of Laurentum
Author Caroline Lawrence
Published 2003
Pages 207
Best character Lupus – we see more of his past than we are, perhaps, prepared for.

 The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
Author Caroline Lawrence
Published 2003
Pages 203
Best character Diana.

 The Gladiators from Capua
Author Caroline Lawrence
Published 2004
Pages 200
Best character Mnason, for the judicious use of lions as a problem-solving device.

 The Sirens of Surrentum
Author Caroline Lawrence
Published 2006
Pages 240
Best character Polla Argentaria. One of the most interesting characters in the entire thing.

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