A Roman Death

A Roman Death

by Joan O'Hagan

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 02/10/2017


In the year 45 BC, Julius Caesar is at the height of his power and the fortunes of the Fufidii and Scauri families are at a watershed.

Quintus Fufidius agrees against his wife's instincts to the marriage of their daughter to Lucius Scaurus. It is an alliance which could heal old feuds and possibly create a new dynasty. Unknown to Quintus, the Scauri clan have proposed the betrothal to prevent their family from bankruptcy. But before the wedding takes place one of the principals is murdered.

Suspects are few, but Roman society is shocked when Quintus' wife is accused, not only of murder, but also of incest. The trial of Helvia, in which she is defended by Cicero, is a courtroom battle on the grand scale and accompanied by the political shenanigans which result in Caesar's assassination.

Joan O'Hagan has written a brilliantly evocative novel and a unique whodunnit, subtly combining the elements of a contemporary mystery with the atmosphere and style of Ancient Rome.

'Poison, poetry (both high-minded and salacious), marriage for money, marriage for love, gang-rape, cowardice in battle, scheming slaves, conniving aristocrats, malicious matrons casting magical curses, and (as if all this were not enough) a previously unknown oration by Cicero -- there's so much going on, so expertly conveyed ... ' Steven Saylor
Historical fiction
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Black Quill Press
Country of origin:
2nd Edition
Dimensions (mm):

Joan O'Hagan

Australian fiction author Joan O'Hagan (1926−2014) was a published author of crime fiction.

She grew up in Canberra and studied Classics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. After spending her early years in New Caledonia and England, she lived most of her life in Italy before returning to Australia in 1997. Her first job was in Noumea, New Caledonia, where she assisted in translating from the French John Grant's Journal: A Convict's Story 1803−11 for the South Pacific Commission. It was here that she met and later married Jim O'Hagan, a New Zealander from Te Kuiti.

After living in London in the early fifties, she moved to Rome with her husband where she worked in the Australian Department of Immigration. Rome remained her home for the next thirty years, during which time their daughter was born. She published five novels, two of which were translated into Italian, Swedish and Japanese. She and her husband returned to Australia in 1997.

She spent the remainder of her time in Sydney, refining her last novel about St Jerome while writing and illustrating stories for her grandsons, Isaac and Dominic.

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