Murder in Absentia*****
By Assaph Mehr

Welcome to a world of togas, fish sauce, the supernatural, and all things Roman! This was a fun murder mystery set somewhere and sometime in the Roman Empire. I’ve taken a few lovely strolls into this familiar fantasy world, but what I loved about Mehr’s tale was his attention to detail and the life of the everyday person. I spend a lot of time inspecting industrial equipment inside of factories while they are in production runs, so when our clever detective, Felix the Fox, toured a fish sauce factory I felt like I could really relate. What are people eating? It’s a question we all come around to a couple times a day and Mehr used it as a wonderful world building angle.

There is actually plenty of development in the culture and system of magic that Felix must navigate in order to crack his case. Don’t worry! Yeah I know how that sounds… There is plenty of world build but never in an info dump. At no point do we leave the lovely story to sit around with the encyclopedia of make believe. Every detail breathes life into the plot and carries it along. I swear! Anything you learn ends out being relevant to Felix’s mystery. The way it should be, darn it.

I was given a free review copy at my request and have voluntarily left a review. Any review. That fact that it’s a good one is because the book is good. Which has nothing to do with how awesome I am. You’ll have to find that out for yourself at LARC-SciFi(dot)com.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries, historical fiction, and urban fantasy. So basically if you’ve ever hoped Jessica Fletcher (from Murder She Wrote) wore a toga and was a Ghostbuster, this book is for you. If you are a young impressionable reader, this book is not for you. Romans where into all kinds of weird stuff that modern culture hasn’t embraced since the seventies. Until Gramma is willing to talk about what she did at Woodstock with the roadie from Phish in front of you, save this book for later.

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