Detectives in Togas

Paperback | October 15, 2002

byHenry WinterfeldIllustratorCharlotte KleinertTranslated byClara Winston

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In these two delightful history-mysteries, seven boys in Ancient Rome solve strange crimes . . . thanks to some help from their cranky teacher, a little bit of logic, and a lot of amusing misadventure.Yes, Rufus wrote CAIUS IS A DUMBBELL on his tablet at school, but no, he did not break into the schoolroom, did not tie up his teacher, and certainly did not paint his slur about Caius on the Temple of Minerva (even if it is in Rufus's own handwriting). Rufus is doomed unless his six classmates can find out who is really responsible. Every hour seems to bring a new, confusing clue . . . until the boys finally stumble upon someone who is not what he appears to be.

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In these two delightful history-mysteries, seven boys in Ancient Rome solve strange crimes . . . thanks to some help from their cranky teacher, a little bit of logic, and a lot of amusing misadventure.Yes, Rufus wrote CAIUS IS A DUMBBELL on his tablet at school, but no, he did not break into the schoolroom, did not tie up his teacher,...

HENRY WINTERFELD (1901-1990) was born in Germany. He began writing for children in 1933, when he wrote Trouble at Timpetill to entertain his son, who was sick with scarlet fever. He went on to write a number of children's books, which have been published around the world.No BioNo BioNo Bio

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Format:PaperbackPublished:October 15, 2002Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0152162801

ISBN - 13:9780152162801

Appropriate for ages: 7

Customer Reviews of Detectives in Togas

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from good, clean mystery set in ancient Rome It is at some unspecified time of the ancient Roman Empire, and Mucius, Rufus, Caius, Antonius, Flavius, Julius, and Publius are all students in the school of Xanthos, whom the boys nicknamed Xantippus because he reminded them of Socrates’s bad-tempered wife Xantippe. Caius had disturbed Rufus and wouldn’t let him study, so Rufus angrily writes “Caius is a dumbbell” on his wax tablet which he hangs on the wall. When Xantippus sees it, he sends Rufus home and threatens to expel him. When the boys arrive at school the next morning, they find that someone has broken into the schoolroom, attacked Xantippus, and stolen several articles, including Rufus’s tablet. But then an even worse crime is committed. They find that someone has written “Caius is a dumbbell” on the temple of Minerva dedicated to the Emperor by Caius’s father Senator Vinicius. Unfortunately, the handwriting expert Scribonius confirms that it is in Rufus’s handwriting, so while Rufus steadfastly denies that he wrote it, he is taken off to prison and is slated to be sold as a galley slave. The boys must look for clues to find the real culprit and save Rufus. Who might have been responsible for it? Could it be Senator Vinicius, or Lukos the astrologist whose house is across the street from Xantippus’s school, or even the Emperor who is jealous over the military victories of General Praetonius who just happens to be Rurus’s father? Or is there someone else lurking about? And will they be able to solve the case in time to spare Rufus? I first heard about Detectives in Togas back in 2007 when it was recommended by Love to Learn, a homeschool resource company. This delightful story not only presents readers with a suspenseful yet good, clean mystery but also gives youngsters a lot of insight into daily life in ancient Rome, with a good dose of humor along the way and a surprise ending. During excavations at Pompeii, a temple wall was found on which the words “Casius Asinus Est” were written. These literally mean “Caius is an ass,” i.e., a stupid person, and this fascinating bit of history forms the basis for Winterfeld’s imaginary plot. Author Henry Winterfeld (1901-1990) was born in Germany, wrote his first children’s book Trouble at Timpetill in 1933, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1940. He originally wrote Detectives in Togas in German as Caius ist ein Dummkopf, and it was translated into English by Clara and Richard Winston. Being set in ancient Rome, it contains numerous references to the Roman gods, including such exclamations as “by all the good gods,” and to drinking wine. However, it corroborates the fact that the Emperor insisted on being worshipped as a god, which was the basis for the persecution of Christians in those days. There is also a moral to the story, as Xantippus uses the fate of the criminal to remind the boys that “The path of vice leads inevitably to ruin.” A sequel is entitled Mystery of the Roman Ransom.
Date published: 2013-07-31

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Editorial Reviews

An original and humorous mystery story . . . tied neatly into a plot that has continuous suspense. . . . The boys are real in their mischief and eager deducing, and the historical details are so naturally a part of the story that the whole has a liveliness that the pictures suggest." - The Horn Book "