Gaius Ruso Mystery #1: Medicus by Ruth Downie

Read: 15 June, 2009

Ruso has just bought a slave. He didn’t mean to, of course, but her master was treating her so roughly and she looked half-dead. Her arm is shattered and he doubts that she will live much longer, but still he bought her. Meanwhile, a woman’s body has been found and ,whether he likes it or not, Ruso must solve the mystery of her murder.

It is difficult to call Medicus a detective novel because Ruso really doesn’t do any investigating. Mostly, he just fumbles around in the dark, hopelessly inept in every area other than medicine, until the culprit is so unnerved by Ruso’s questions that he reveals himself. Those clues that Ruso does take credit for tend to be uncovered by his slave, Tilla, or openly confided to him. This bumbling detective style makes Medicus a delightfully whimsical and ironically funny story. It’s a novel only a Brit could have written.

I’m really not sure what attracts me so much to Medicus, but something certainly does. I couldn’t put it down and I ordered the next book in the series within minutes of finishing the last page. I loved that while the setting was so exotic, the issues dealt with in the novel are completely relevant today.

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Other books in the Gaius Ruso series:

  1. Medicus
  2. Terra Incognita
  3. Persona Non Grata
  4. Caveat Emptor
  5. Semper Fidelis
  6. Tabula Rasa
  7. Vita Brevis
  8. Memento Mori

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