by Henry Winterfeld
True, Rufus wrote “Caius is a dumbbell” on his school tablet, leading to a fight between him and Caius and being expelled from the Xanthos School. But would he really have written the exact same thing on the Temple of Minerva?
But all of the facts seem to be pointing to Rufus, and the handwriting is the same…
When Rufus’s ends up in the Roman prison for the crime, six of his fellow classmates start investigating, certain that their friend can’t be the culprit.
Rufus’s fate now lies in the boys’ hands. Can they find out who really wrote on the temple wall, or will Rufus suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?
The first time I came across Detectives in Togas, my mom was doing it as a read-aloud with my younger brother. Since I wanted to be able to listen to the story as well and find out who the real culprit was, I would race to finish all of my homework and then hurry over to the living room as Mom started to read. After all, I had to know how the story went!
Winterfeld does a nice job writing a light mystery. He keeps throws in a red herring or two, and makes character actions seem suspicious. Slowly but surely, the six boys come close and closer to finding out the truth. And while I was able to solve the mystery, it wasn’t until right before the characters themselves figured out who committed the crime.
One thing about the story that is a little funny is that while the story is set in ancient Rome, and contains several things to give it a little bit of a Roman flare, the dialogue in the book has a more modern feel to it. However, that fact will probably make the story easier for younger readers to follow.
Cautions: one swear word