The Detective and the Toga maintained by Richard M. Heli. Last week I looked at The Sybil & Sleuth: Historical Mysteries of Ancient Greece. If the sun-baked, and sometimes blood-soaked, shores of the Aegean aren’t to your liking, then perhaps the seven hills of Rome, also often blood-soaked, will be better. Rick Heli’s site on Roman mysteries, begun in June 1994 as The Sword and the Sleuth, provides so much information that it is hard to know where to start, which is its only real weakness. The two-panel arrangement is awkward at best and the link to the index of novels published in English is not nearly prominent enough for first-time visitors. The main page for the site presents current information on works in print for the first time, new editions and translations, forthcoming titles, and newly-found stories. Updates appear about once per month and the attention given to editions in languages other than English is a uniquely strong aspect of the site. The links and acknowledgments contain many good avenues of exploration as well including a yahoo group devoted just to the works of John Maddox Roberts and the SPQR series.
The main index on works published in English is arranged alphabetically by author with more than 30 authors mentioned. The titles in each author’s entry are arranged alphabetically with publisher, publication location and date information included for each edition. A brief synopsis of each title follows and a rating system from one to four stars is provided for about half of the titles. Only five, all by Steven Saylor or Lindsey Davis, have been given four stars, but there are many at the three-star level.
Another nice addition, besides the rating system and the attention to foreign editions, is a page of author profiles. There are also supporting pages on titles for young readers, non-fiction works about Roman daily life, music and games with a Roman theme, and togas among others.