On the eve of the Roman festivities, the last thing you’d expect Claudia Seferius to be doing is heading out of the city. Unfortunately, even hedonistic young widows have to put business before pleasure when their vineyards are threatened with arson.
Taking a shortcut through the Umbrian countryside, she is forced off the road, and her beloved cat goes missing in the skirmish. Refusing to leave without her, Claudia accepts the hospitality of Sergius Pictor and the menagerie of wild animals he is training for the Games.
Then a stranger knocks at her bedroom door, with a knife sticking out of his belly.
And Claudia finds herself being framed for murder…