Check out the Facebook party HERE!

*IWS stage is set up like a dinner party themed escape room. Theme music begins to play as Tabi enters the stage.*

Tabi: Welcome, everyone! Here today we have a real life professional investigator who will be showing us how problem solving is done. Please welcome to the stage, Felix the Fox!

*Audience applauds as Felix enters the stage, toga and all.*

Tabi: Thank you for joining us today, Felix.

Felix: Salve omnibus

*Felix glances at the table where dummies are sitting at the table*

Tabi: You might be wondering what all this is for. I figured that since you’re a private investigator you could solve a little mystery for us while telling us about yourself.

Felix: But of course, I wouldn’t expect anything else but an unpaid commission from Assaph.

Tabi: It’s a dinner party, but something seems to be killing them. The doors are secured so what killed them couldn’t have been external. It’s your mission to figure out from the clues around this room what did it. What do you do first when approaching a crime scene like this?

Felix: Not eat anything, that’s for sure. Let me sniff at the food and wine, see if I can detect poisons anywhere. That’s assuming it’s a normal crime scenes, of course, without the dead coming back to life.

*Tabi follows Felix as he continues investigating the pretend crime scene*

Tabi: So, when did you first know that you wanted to be a professional investigator?

Felix: That was almost by accident. My father was an antiques dealer. I made it into the Collegium Incantatorium, the first of my family, but was forced to leave when my father died and I could not pay tuition. I tried the legions for a while, but hated every moment.

Tabi: The legions?

Felix: Yeah, bad idea. It’s a normal course for young people with no prospects in town. It may sound more glorious than being a baker’s apprentice, but really all you do is march and dig, march and dig. Interspersed with occasional bouts of terrifying violence. The marching was the only tolerable part, so I figured I’d better not stay for the other two.

Tabi: I see.

Felix: And so, with a rather varied set of skills and following a bizarre adventure on the way back, I ran into two of the most respected investigators in our city. I started by running errands for them, and learned from them how to be an investigator.

*Felix studies the chalkboard covered in strange symbols thoughtfully*

Felix: When a case dealing with occult matters came that they didn’t want to handle, I drew on my aborted education in the arts of magia, and became a freelance detective.

Tabi: And what does an ordinary day look like for you?

Felix: Wake up, have breakfast. Hope there are clients. Go set up a stool somewhere, or chalk a graffiti at the Forum to advertise.

*Felix makes his way to the bookshelf, running his hand over the bindings displayed before turning back to Tabi.*

Felix: I’ll never get used to paper stitched in codices. Much prefer civilised scrolls. Anyway, I scrape by, with finding people’s lost rings or providing them with minor charms or *coughs* curses *coughs* to make their life sweeter.

*Audience laughs and applauds*

Felix: And then there are the atypical days, when a rich customer sends for me, and I find myself solving the most horrid of murders, lying vindictive ghosts to rest, and resolving anything else that the authorities can’t or won’t.

Tabi: Wow, sounds like a lot of work! I’ve heard you’re also a magician, have you always had magic?

Felix: Magic is something you learn. Some people have a better knack for it, just as some people make better sculptors or better orators than others.

I’ve started, as I mentioned, formal studies at the collegium when I was sixteen. While I didn’t complete my formal studies, I also picked up on a lot of folk practices. I knew how to separate the fluff from substance, which is what work now.

*Felix suddenly pulls out one of the books

Felix: Ah-ha, the cipher.

*The audience watches as the pair walk back to the chalkboard with the book*

Tabi: What would you say is the biggest problem the city of Egretia is facing?

*Felix is now studying the symbols and cross referencing them with the book*

Felix: Oh, there is the occasional corrupt and opportunistic politician, or the rogue incantator that wreak social and physical havoc. Mostly you will find that our city is vibrant, and that great things are coming. More good than bad, in my opinion.

Tabi: That’s wonderful, it seems like a must see place. Do you have any special customs where you’re from?

Felix: Doesn’t everybody? I have observed in my travels that each culture is made up of numerous little things, that set them apart – and yet somehow in common – with others. Take our Egretian fish-sauce for example. We like it on everything, yet others can barely stand the smell. Or the way we prefer wine, while the Arbari tribes to the west prefer beer – but we all like to drink in company.

*Tabi winks*

Tabi: I can agree with you there.

*Audience chuckles*

Tabi: What’s your favorite holiday in your world?

Felix: Any days dedicated to my patron goddess Fortuna, of course. Then there are the great games, the Ludi Egretani, with the chariot races and public spectacles.
One holiday I dislike, is the Saturnalia. Oh, I don’t mind the slaves getting a bit of fun – it’s the stupid drunken festivities, without a good chariot race to make it memorable.

Tabi: I see. Sounds like our Mardi Gras.

Felix: Don’t think I’ve heard of that one. Some new god?

Tabi: It’s just a big party used as an excuse to get drunk, you’re not missing anything. So what’s the food like where you’re from? Do you have a favorite meal?

Felix: I like simple foods. When I grew up we had enough for good meals, but not fancy feasts. So I do like my brain-sausages with pine-nuts, and much prefer them to sea-urchin and the like. I once had a chance to try gryphon meat. All I’ll say is that it needed lots of fish sauce, as otherwise it tastes just like chicken.

Tabi: Brain-sausages?

*Audience gasps*

Tabi: That’s a new one. Does it taste like chicken too?

Felix: Not really. Sort of creamy and a touch tangy. Not as chewy as goat testicles, so I don’t know why people compare them.

Tabi: Oh my word that’s too weird for me. Speaking of weird, what is the strangest case you’ve ever had?

Felix: Probably the one where I was hired by a long dead woman to address her murder. Usually when I run into dead things I have to poke them with a stick till they go back to the underworld.

*Audience laughs nervously*

Felix: That… was different.

Tabie: Mysterious. Care to give us an example?

Felix: Oh, you know. Dead ancestors haunting some young virgin, trying to get her to marry. Stuff like that.

*Felix is studying the book in hand*

Felix *Thoughtfully, under his breath*: Hm. Let me see here. I think I recognise this reference to Ovid’s Metamorphoses…

Tabi: What was that?

Felix: Oh, nothing. Carry on.

*Tabi gives strange look before moving on to her next question*

Tabi: When solving cases, which do you rely on more. Magic or logic?

Felix: I rely primarily of a good pair of sandals.

*Tabi giggles at this*

Tabi: Didn’t expect that one.

Felix: I found that one does not reach the truth without much trumping about and chasing witnesses and clues. Then one only needs a little spark of logic to make the connections, and reach the right conclusion.

Working the magia is all good and well, but – besides not having completed my studies – is often not the answer up front. It’s a tool. One has to know how and when to use it effectively, rather than relying solely on it.

Tabi: That makes sense. So what are you theories about this dinner party?

*Tabi indicates to the table*

Felix: The dinner  guests who ate the stuffed duck in cumin and fennel sauce  were the only ones who were impacted. At first I wasn’t sure who the cook was, but the shoes revealed everything.

Tabi: The shoes?

Felix: Yes. Only one of the dinner guests had flour on the bottom of their shoes. From there all I had to figure out what was the secret ingredient that did the deed. That’s where the chalkboard came in.

*Attention turns to the chalkboard once again*

Felix: The symbols reminded me of some ancient mummification formula I’ve seen. Natron is just not an ingredient you’d normally expect to see in a cooking recipe.

*Audience gasps*

Felix But since it was in a language I’m not familiar with I had to find a guide. That’s where the bookshelf came in.

Tabi: And how did you know which one was the cipher?

Felix: The book, you mean? It says so right on the spine – hieroglyphic reference.

Tabi: Wow! Your attention to detail is amazing.

*Felix enters the code he deciphered from the chalkboard into the keypad which opens a box. Felix reveals a bottle filled with green liquid.*

Felix: Something was off about the recipe. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but then I saw that reference substituting salt with natrons and I knew it had to be taken from Mitzrani mummification ceremonies. The taste is naturally salty, so wouldn’t be detectable, but you can easily slip in trace elements of other poisons in there.

*Tabi and audience applaud enthusiastically*

Tabi: Remarkable! I would never have thought to look at the bottom of the shoes.

Felix: The duck was stuffed with breadcrumbs, and served with a bread loaf. Whoever slipped the ingredients in the stuffing, must have gone to the kitchens – not your usual guest behaviour.

Tabi: I guess so! Well, we have time for just one more question so here it goes. As you can see, we don’t really wear togas around here. Is that a normal thing where you’re from? Have you ever worn pants?

Felix: Pants are for barbarians.

*Audience laughs*

Felix: Civilised citizens wear a tunic, and – on formal occasions – a
toga. Some men only wear the Toga twice in their lives, when they reach adulthood and when they leave this world. Some, mostly politicians, wear it almost daily. I wear it depending on the crowd I am mixing with.

Oh, and some women wear togas too. They are just not what you might call
“respectable” women, if you understand what I mean.

Tabi: Interesting. I’ll have to remember that one if ever I decide to dress up like an Egretian. Well, thank you for joining us this evening!

Felix: It was my pleasure to meet you, Tabi.

*Audience stands and applauds as Felix exits the stage*

Tabi: Don’t forget to get your copy of Murder In Absentia to see Felix in action. Tune in next week for our Season Finale!


“Finished Murder In Absentia twice now. A truly remarkable story which draws you in and makes it so you never want to leave.” — Fuchsia Carter, UK


A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix the Fox, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician — but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and on his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.

Murder In Absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Available on Amazon:


81H0CrqefyL._UX250_.jpgAssaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, and had to yell at the librarian that he can read already so he should get his own card. With a rather diverse taste in reading – from fantasy to philosophy, from ancient times to the far future – his first novel Murder In Absentia is an “historically-themed urban high-fantasy hardboiled murder mystery, with just a dash of horror”. After years of reading and only dreaming of seeing his name in print, he suddenly started writing in 2015. He owes this to his wife, who complained that there was nothing good left to read. Once the challenge was accepted and Murder In Absentia was born, Assaph just kept on writing – short stories, flash fiction, and now a second full length novel. You can find them all on When he’s not busy mashing up genres or interviewing other author’s characters on, this ex-Israeli- turned-Aussie enjoys his kids, cats, wife and even his day job. He hopes that his thirty years of martial arts make his fight scenes realistic, and that his love of history shines through his work.

Twitter: @assaphmehr

Like the show? Follow the SWC for more!

Leave a Reply