J M Alvey studied Classics at Oxford in the 1980s. As an undergraduate, notable achievements in startling tutors included citing the comedic principles of Benny Hill in a paper on Aristophanes, and using military war-gaming rules to analyse and explain apparent contradictions in historic accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae. Crime fiction was always relaxation reading and that love of mysteries and thrillers continued through a subsequent, varied career, alongside an abiding fascination with history and the ancient world.
These interests have all now come together in the first adventure of Philocles Hestaiou, comic playwright and pen for hire in classical Athens. The last thing he needs is a corpse on his doorstep as he competes in the city’s most prestigious drama festival. Shadows of Athens is forthcoming from Weidenfeld & Nicholson in March 2019, followed by Scorpions in Corinth in the Autumn