In these three mysteries set in Ancient Rome, a lusty young widow and cunning sleuth faces plagues, wild animals, and murder.
Though she hates to leave the city on the eve of the Roman festivities, the young widow Claudia Seferius always puts business before pleasure, especially when her vineyards are in danger. Forced off the road in Umbria, she must accept the hospitality of a wild animal trainer. But then a stranger knocks at her bedroom door—with a knife sticking out of his belly—and Claudia finds herself framed for murder.
In the back alleys of the capital city, Claudia finds an abandoned boy, Jovi, and takes him home with her. Meanwhile, five slave women have been murdered on Market Day. A killer is stalking the streets, his victims linked by a tattoo that marks them as the “children of Arbil.” And as Claudia uncovers the trail, it leads her into the deadly inner circle of a slave-rearing empire.
As a deadly plague sweeps through Rome, Claudia Seferius has more pressing concerns. Having “temporarily” stolen three thousand sesterces, the army is after her. Claudia soon finds refuge in the beautiful spa resort of Atlantis, where a little flirting seems an ideal way to pass the time. Except, within hours, her new paramour is dead. It seems Atlantis might be more dangerous than the disease-ridden streets Claudia left behind . . .