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Monday, April 7, 2014

Nemesis by Lindsey Davis: First Page Mondays

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ROME AND LATIUM
SUMMER, AD 77

I find it surprising more people are not killed over dinner at home. In my work we reckon that murder is most likely to happen among close acquaintances. Someone will finally snap after years of being wound up to blind rage by the very folk who best know how to drive them to distraction. For once it will be just too much to watch someone else eating the last sesame pancake - which, of course was snatched with a triumphant laugh that was intended to rankle. So a victim expires with honey still dribbling down their chin - though it happens less often than you might expect.


 Why are more kitchen cleavers not sunk between the fat shoulders of appalling uncles who get the slaves pregnant? Or that sneaky sister who shamelessly grabs the most desirable bedroom, with its glimpse of a corner of the Temple of Divine Claudius and almost no cracks in the walls? Or the crude son who farts uncontrollably, however many times he is told.....

 Even if people do not stab or strangle their own, you would expect more to rush out into the streets and vent their frustration upon the first person they meet. Perhaps they do. Perhaps even the random killing of strangers, which the vigiles call 'a motiveless crime' sometimes has an understandable domestic issue.


 It could so easily have happened to us.

 I grew up in a large family, crammed into a couple of small, sour rooms. All around our apartment were other teeming groups, too noisy, too obstreperous and all........

- Debolina Raja Gupta