Although there were banks in Miriam’s Alexandria to lend money, manage land and buildings, collect outstanding debts, and handle the various currencies for big businesses, the exchange of coins in the local marketplace was the occupation of the argentarii, the men who sat at tables throughout the agora. Experts in spotting phony gold and silver coins, they served the shoppers by evaluating foreign coins and other valuables for a fee.
And so, in all such places where neighborhood people gathered, the moneychangers’ tables were a hot spot for gossip. In THE DEADLIEST LIE, Miriam would send Phoebe, her servant, to collect intelligence at the places she couldn’t go:
…to the soup kitchens, laundry lofts, smithies, and slave dealers’ sheds. Phoebe would eavesdrop outside barber shops and bathhouses, taverns and whorehouses, cookshops and kapeleia (snack bars), inns and bakers’ stalls, and at the scores of dice games and moneychangers’ tables in the agora. She’d listened to the conversations of citizens and freedmen, soldiers and stevedores, peddlers and artisans, masons and mule drivers, slaves and serfs before the midday heat wrapped the streets in silence.
And, like a dog tracking a bone, Phoebe would hunt down and bring back the most shocking news.
Each Miriam bat Isaac book stands alone, so you need not read them in order, but THE DEADLIEST LIE, the first book in the series, will give you that insider’s view of Alexandria during the Roman occupation. Besides, the e-book will be on sale for only $0.99 from April 1st—15th. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Google or just click here.