The Used Virgin (Argolicus Mystery 1)
When Argolicus, once praefect urbis of Rome under the Ostrogoth King Theodoric, retires at 32 and returns to his home to Bruttia in the very south of Italy, he learns that his avuncular friend from youth has been accused of rape, and not just rape, rape of a virgin. In the culture of the time, this accusation is worse than murder.
A reputation for making sound decisions and reverence for his old friend’s sense of justice start Argolicus on a journey to set things right.
Accompanied by his tutor and lifelong friend, Nikolaos, Argolicus goes straight to the governor’s villa where luxury, beautiful horses, and great wine hid an extremely cruel deception.
While author, Zara Altair, was doing research for her novel Felix Ravenna: A Mosaic she came across a letter in the Variae of Cassiodorus (iii, 46) which has puzzled scholars. Who better to solve the mystery than the hero Argolicus?
The Peach Widow (Argolicus Mystery 2)
Argolicus can’t refuse his mother when she asks him to help a neighboring widow whose stepsons want her gone.
When Argolicus arrives with Nikolaos at the small farm and peach orchard he explains to the widow that under Roman law she must leave. She has no recourse. When he stays as a guest for the main meal, he discovers that each of the brothers has something to hide and corruption hides under fresh peaches destined for Rome.
Inevitably he’ll return to his mother with the bad news until the huge farm dog Pup discovers a deadly plaything.
Author: Zara Altair