"… familiar and highly entertaining stuff."
It is Rome during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian and it is the holiday of Saturnalia when the normal rules are abandoned and parties and feasting are the order of the day. Marcus Didius Falco and his family are no exception to the rule and are in the midst of preparation for many entertainments involving all their relations. Marcus' wife, Helena Justina, shows her usual aplomb when a number of soldiers are billeted with them in order to assist Marcus in his latest task to find a missing German captive.
It is vital that she is found as her presence at large could embarrass the government and put Marcus' fee at risk. Many complications arise as this Veleda has connections with Helena's brother. In the end it is, as always, sorted out satisfactorily.