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Near the beginning of THE DEADLIEST THIEF, Phoebe is kidnapped. Miriam suspects she was abducted from a wig shop when her lead bearer reports seeing her go inside to pick up a new wig, but no one wearing a wig came out. Not Phoebe. Not anybody. “If Phoebe had made it out of that shop,” Miriam said, “she’d surely have worn her new wig.”

Wearing a wig was common among the wealthy and fashionable of the Roman Empire. In fact, both men (see my blog of November 15, 2016) and women (see my blog of September 29, 2015) used any means available to improve their looks and decorate their bodies including dressing their hair. For men, baldness was regarded as an ugly defect.

The Empress Messalina, wife of Emperor Claudius I, became famous for the layers of curls in her hairdos. And so, other women sought to copy her. Although blond hair had been associated with prostitutes, when Messalina wore light-haired wigs, they too became popular. And so, eventually red and blond hair was bought or taken from slaves and prisoners of war from the more northern countries of Gaul and Germany.

Well, Miriam’s guessing where Phoebe was abducted is only the beginning. The puzzle is about who had kidnapped her, why she was taken, and where she was being imprisoned. To help Miriam find her best friend before it’s too late, click here.

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