YA REWIND: Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld

In this episode of YA Rewind I’m joined by three friends for a chat about their childhood favorites, then I talk about using fiction to teach kids about history, as with Henry Winterfeld’s Detectives in Togas, and the surprise discovery that the original 1956 text was written in German. Later I bring back my friends to share a performance from Book Jacket Theatre, the segment in which I pull really terrible blurbs from the ‘Paranormal Teen Romance’ section and give them all the melodrama they deserve.

Who would expect to arrive at school and find the teacher bound and gagged and stuffed in the wardrobe? That’s just what Mucius, Antonius, and three other young Romans discover one morning. Though the room is a shambles, the only stolen articles are a few mathematical textbooks and a wax writing tablet on which their friend Rufus, angry with another schoolmate, had written the previous afternoon: “Caius is a dumbbell.” These same words, in Rufus’s handwriting, are found scrawled in red paint on the wall of the temple of Minerva. Such desecration is enough to send Rufus to prison. Rufus swears he is innocent, and in a fight against time his young friends set out to find the real culprit. As their search grows warmer, the clues become frightening in their political implications, and a terrifying visit to the soothsayer nearly spells disaster.

-from the 1996 Odyssey Classic edition

The poorly summarized paranormal teen romance featured in this episode’s Book Jacket Theatre can be found on Amazon: Angels of the Knights: Fallon.

If you have stories to share about your own favorite books from young adulthood or future suggestions for Book Jacket Theatre, e-mail  YARewindPodcast@meganchristopher.net. Next time I’ll be talking about Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Egypt Game.

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