Originally Posted by KentE
Thanks for the recommendations, Sufue! I'm tempted to try he David Wishart series, in particular. I must say that you've picked a very difficult sub-genre to be infatuated with-- mysteries taking place in both a different time, and a different culture.
I'm usually somewhat intimidated by such a combination. It seems like the author must be very good to keep true to both a time shift and a culture shift, and still manage to make it accessible to a reader who may not have previous familiarity with either. I do enjoy tackling one or the other (radically different period, or culture), but can only think of a few that did both. When an author manages to do both well, and tell an interesting story on top of it, it's quite a feat.
Definitely just try one of the Wishart books first, if you decide to try. The wise-cracky language does seem a bit out of place at first, but I'm not sure if it's just out of place with our ***ideas*** of how Romans during the early empire spoke or really out of place. And, since historical evidence tends to be biased in favor of the elite, who were literate and could write, whose speeches got recorded, etc., I doubt we'll ever really know. I can say that the historical background in these seemed pretty good - I didn't see anything in a museum in Rome that contradicted anything historical in the books, and a lot that was consistent. And Wishart provides pretty good historical notes in the books and on his website.
In a larger way, and I'm not sure where you are from, I have found that historical mysteries (with a few exceptions like Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels or Anne Perry) seem to be much less popular in the US than in the UK. I picked up the habit when I had a job which took me regularly to the UK once or twice a year, and when that job ended I had a very hard (read: expensive) time feeding my habit for a while, until the advent of ebooks...