Series of detective books,
Set in a Republic at war
And full of villains and spooks.
While Crassus and Pompey
Reign over the nation,
The street gangs have their day
Preying on the population.
Yet when slaves and freedmen alike
Are found in the Subura, dead,
The authorities seem reluctant to strike,
Except for our hero, the head
Of the vigiles (or watchmen),
Who seems determined to find
The what, why and when,
With his keen investigative mind.
The pace is pleasingly swift
And the dialog fairly crackles,
As plot lines turn and shift
And our hero blocks and tackles.
But the characters are flat
And have little originality,
Almost Egyptian, in that
They lack three-dimensionality.
So if Dan Brown’s more your style
Then give this book a read,
But if you prefer Le Carre’s guile
Then there’s really no need.