Sour Grapes: A Claudia Seferius Mystery by Marilyn Todd

Sour Grapes: A Claudia Seferius Mystery by Marilyn Todd
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (175 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Deep in the reed beds, the water shimmered and rippled. After three days’ submersion, the gases inside gently raised the body to the surface. Setting a seventeen-year-old youth on his final journey downstream.

When a wealthy horse trainer starts courting her mother-in-law, Claudia knows love has bugger-all to do with it. Especially with the number of hangers-on who’ve moved in. But exactly what is his game? Can it be connected to a string of local misfortunes?

At first, Claudia is simply curious.

Then a young man is found dead…

Claudia heads to Mercurium to visit her mother-in-law, Larentia, and quickly finds herself caught up in a series of murders. She also has to fight for her own survival because if Larentia marries, as she is threatening to do, Claudia will lose control of her own affairs. Ancient Rome was not a friendly place for single women and if there is a man in the household and Claudia is unmarried, then Larentia’s new husband will assume control over everything.

Claudia is a very likeable and believable protagonist. She is a complex character who is very intelligent, curious, and capable. She is certain that Darius is not what he seems, and she can not believe that he really wants to marry Larentia. But what about the bad luck that is plaguing a number of families in Mercurium? Is it really bad luck?

Sour Grapes is set in Ancient Rome and the setting certainly enhances the story. It seems very authentic and I really felt as if I had been taken back in time to a very different world. The sights and sounds, smells and tastes, all come alive in amazing ways.

This is the twelfth novel in the Claudia Seferius series and I have read several of the earlier ones. I find them to be extremely engaging and the mysteries are complex and challenging. I thought I’d pegged the villain in Sour Grapes, believing, as Claudia did, only to be caught unawares as Claudia fights for her very life against a most worth adversary. The finale of the novel is bone-chilling in its intensity.

I think that historical mysteries, when written as well as this one is, bring the past to life and add a level of depth and interest to any mystery. Fans of this genre are sure to enjoy traveling back in time and meeting Claudia Seferius.

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