N.B. R S Downie is published in the US as Ruth Downie and this book, "Ruso and the Demented Doctor", is published in the US as Terra Incognita. Army doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso is waiting for the gods to smile on him. But, on a posting to the hostile North of Britannia, he's in for a long wait. Not least because the locals have a new hero who likes to strap antlers to his head and scare the Romans silly, while Ruso's slave girl, Tilla, is stubbornly refusing to identify the culprit in a police line-up. But when Ruso is waylaid at the Fort of Coria, where a fellow doctor has confessed to a grisly murder, it's a case of out of the cauldron and into the fire.With Tilla thrust outside the fort (and into the arms of a former lover), Ruso is landed not only with Doctor Thessalus's patients but also the tricky task of getting him to retract the confession. Something smells fishy about this murder - and Coria is miles from the sea ...Ruso faces a nightmarish investigation - trailed by the secret police, hunted by the Stag Man and betrayed by Tilla, is it any wonder he's seeking solace in the rather-too-watery local beer? R. S.Downie's Ruso is an anti-hero to delight in and murderers at the frontier of the Roman Empire will be quaking in their sandals at his return.
In 2004 R.S. Downie won the Fay Weldon section of BBC3's End of Story competition. Her first novel, Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls, is available as a Penguin paperback. She is married with two sons.