The Vestal Vanishes by Rosemary Rowe
"...whatever Lavinius might or might not know, one cannot keep this kind of secret from the gods."
It is these words, spoken by Secunda in a poor farmstead that prove the key to Rosemary Rowe's theme in this latest Libertus mystery.
The story revolves around the impending marriage of Publius Martinus at the end of an auspicious sacrifice in Glevum to the once-Vestal Virgin, Audelia. Yet, before the feasting and Games can commence, Libertus is hurriedly summoned to his patron's side to investigate the disappearance of the bride-to-be on the road from Corinium. Libertus is given no time to go home and explain his commission but is sent off with a suspect raedarius - in the same carriage that was to bring the missing Vestal and her niece, Lavinia, to Glevum - to retrace the steps of the fateful journey and discover the whereabouts of the Vestal. Along the way he discovers complicity and duplicity at hostels, farms, amongst slaves and those charged with the welfare of others until, finally, he uncovers the mystery of a very sad little girl and a woman who desires nothing more than a chance to live her life as she chooses away from both the critical eye of a paterfamilias who would deal nefariously with her future and the intransigent ethics of Roman propriety.
I have to say that Rowe delivers a tidy mystery. The reader is taken sweetly along on the journey that is Libertus mind as he both painstakingly looks for the inevitable clues that come up in his discussions with people and understands the fallibility of relationships that point to motive. Matters are never random, the culprit(s) are always found within three degrees of the victim and superstitious fear is a powerful tool that creates the situations that Rowe sketches us. If you wanted comparable authors, then Lindsay Davis or David Wishart are the obvious choices. Rowe is more serious in her writing, Libertus an older man who reluctantly sleuths through thinking, rather than the heady action of Falco or the casual levity of Corvinus, than these other two authors, but no less enjoyable for it.
Couple of odd spelling moments which are probably Kindle related but stand out as the editing of these books is normally excellent. One example is 'torc' is spelt "torque" - round about 4% of the way into the Kindle. It's the third time I've seen that particular mistake on Kindle. Different authors for each time.
If you wish to enjoy a light read, a well constructed narrative, enough twists and clues to keep you interested, a character who is amiable if not enjoyable, then I'd recommend Rowe. I note that the Libertus novels have lessened in frequency in recent years. Is that a sign that the author is coming to a natural end for her British character? If it is, then, if you like Falco, I'd suggest you read these whilst you can.
This The Vestal Vanishes book review was written by travelswithacanadian
All reviews for: Libertus
The Vestal Vanishes
Libertus: Book 12
The marriage of a former vestal virgin is always an important event, so the anticipated arrival of such a bride in Glevum is the excuse for an even more lavish banquet than...
Have you read The Vestal Vanishes?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Vestal Vanishes reader reviews
8.2/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Death in St James's Park
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart lad...
Mystery in the Minster
In 1358 the fledging college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge is in need of extra funds. A legacy from the Archbishop of York of a parish close to that city promises a welcome ...
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have me...
Death of a Scholar
In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswa...
Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac
Edward M Erdelac
Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union ...
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening
Mario de Carvalho
In the 3rd century AD, Lucerius Valerius Quincius, perfect of Tarcisis, an imaginary Roman City, begins his memoirs. His city is threatened from without and within. North A...
The King of Scotland is dead. The nobles fight over the succession, unaware that King Edward of England has plans of his own. For years, Edward has nurtured a fierce vision...
The Chelsea Strangler
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient m...
The Lost Abbot
In the summer of 1358 Matthew Bartholomew finds himself one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, sent north to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Abbot of...
A Conspiracy of Violence
The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the reg...
The Piccadilly Plot
Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. His master, the Earl of Clarendon, has sent him to Tangier to investigate a case of corruption. Chaloner will be ...
Murder by the Book
It is drawing near to the end of term, and the University at Cambridge is in turmoil over the opening of a new Common Library. There is an attack on one of the masters at a...
Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will cont...
The Language of Stones
The Realm is poised for war. Its weak king – Hal, grandson of a usurper – is dominated by his beautiful wife and her lover. Against them stands Duke Richard of ...
The Eagle Series
It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of mil...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she...
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her al...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...