Review: Murder in Absentia

Although I have been reading mostly non-fiction these days, I encountered the author of Murder in Absentia online through a Facebook indie writers’ group and decided to read his murder mystery. His work’s unusual setting and well-drawn characters intrigued me, so I read it, liked it and wrote this review for Goodreads.

“Assaph Mehr’s Murder in Absentia takes place in a fantasy offshoot of ancient Rome. It borrows artifacts and settings from different periods in Roman history and seasons them with the knowledge and application of magic unknown to the republic and empire fans have known and possibly love. The murder mystery driving this narrative involves a rebellious cult, or so the super sleuth Felix the Fox thinks as he pursues clues along the coast of Mehr’s creation, Nuremata. Mehr, has a deep and abiding interest in ancient Rome. It shows. Contrary to the opinion of a few other reviewers, I enjoyed all the cultural and societal details informing the story and, most of all, I liked the work’s architectural mise en place, the sense that all the ingredients were ready and the reader entered a well-constructed work strengthened by all its details. And I liked the feel of experiencing a variety of built environments with a strong sense of place.  When I think of Rome, I imagine imperial palaces and public spaces. Murder in Absentia invites the reader into such a realm and transports her securely until the final page.”

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