Ruth Downie, author of Medicus and other Stories

Ruth Downie lives in North Devon, United Kingdom. She is a British author best known for her mysteries featuring the 'reluctant sleuth', Gauis Petreius Ruso. Her world is set in the Roman World during the time of Vespasian.

Editor’s Note – Ruth Downie was asked about what place in England is the inspiration for her fiction.   A full interview is featured on Ancient Rome Refocused, Episode 42, Season 7.  Check it out on Podbean:

Ruth Downie:  It’s a sheep farm in Northamptonshire which is in the middle of England. And it’s just sets on a beautiful hillside looking out crossed valleys with hills dotted around about. And it’s just the most gorgeous setting. And over the last 10 or 12 years, the local people in the village with other people coming in as volunteers have dug the remains of a Roman villa on this site. And you can imagine these people sitting outside of an evening, looking out over roughly the same view that we see now. And we knew they were having mutton for dinner because we found the bones of the sheep with cut marks, and butchery marks. And that I think, that brings it back to me more than anything. The other thing is when we’re digging, and you’re actually digging up people’s rubbish. The stuff they never meant to leave: broken bits of pottery, and there are 2 bathhouses on this site.

We were digging there, I think it’s the year before last. And we found most of the piles of tiles that would have been the underfloor heating. And now we’re digging bits of drains and not terribly glamorous bits, but quite fun if you’re digging in them. And there’s a row of wooden stakes still left in there that we came across wood  still left there from Roman times, obviously they, they’re rotted, but some of the wood is still there. And when you’re digging and you think, “Well, there’s one there, one there and one there.” So logically there ought to be one here when I dig down a little bit deeper and you get down to it and there it is. And suddenly you think, “I’m in the same mindset as the person who put these stakes in in the first place thinking, “I’ll just space these out along this gap.” And that today is a very strange feeling.


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