Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review of Death And A Crocodile by Lisa E. Betz


Award-Winning Author Lisa Betz Pens Debut Novel

Publisher- Crosslink Publishing

“Everything I love in historical fiction―a feisty heroine, a fascinating setting, and mysterious goings-on. Betz’s story is an intriguing journey into ancient Rome, with a character facing challenges similar to our own.” --Tracy Higley, historical fiction author of The Incense Road

Reading, PA– Award-winning author and professional writer Lisa Betz spins a fast-paced, humorous mystery set in ancient Rome in her debut historical novel, Death and a Crocodile, the first in a new series, now available from CrossLink Publishing.

Betz, a former engineer turned writer who runs the popular blog, Live Intentionally, and manages a community of writers at Almost an Author, weaves together eccentric characters, historical details, and an unrepentant, sausage-snatching cat to keep readers guessing.

“When I first began to dabble with writing, I thought I wanted to write middle-grade fiction,” says Betz. “It was only recently that I decided to attempt writing a historical mystery. I would have never guessed five or ten years ago that I would enjoy writing a mystery series with a snarky female lead.”

In Death and a Crocodile, Betz takes readers inside Rome, 47 AD, shortly after the time of Christ. At this time in history, sensible women don’t investigate murders, but Livia might not have a choice. When Livia’s father dies under suspicious circumstances, she sets out to find the killer before her innocent brother is convicted of murder. She may be an amateur when it comes to hunting dangerous criminals, but she’s determined, intelligent, and not afraid to break a convention or two in pursuit of the truth. Livia and her spunky maidservant, Roxana, pound the ancient Roman pavements in search of the killer, with the help of a reluctant lawyer, a lovelorn merchant, and a handful of loyal servants.

Livia’s also adopted a radical new faith that encourages her to believe a woman and a handful of servants can solve a murder. Can she uncover the culprit before powerful men realize what she’s up to and force her to stop? Or will her snooping land her in deadly peril?

While writing, Betz drew inspiration from her 35 years of leading Bible studies and hopes to both entertain and encourage her readers through her books. She started her writing journey more than 25 years ago, when she was looking for something new and creative to try while raising small children. A class in creative writing sparked her interest, but she never dreamed that class would be the first step to a career as a novelist.

“Books can bring light by showing us things we didn’t know before or clarifying what used to be confusing,” says Betz. “Books can expand our universe in many ways, taking us into the lives of people in different cultures, different lands, different times, different societies. Books are powerful because they can change lives.”



Lisa E. Betz worked as an engineer, substitute teacher, and play director before becoming an award-winning mystery writer. She draws inspiration from thirty-five years of leading Bible studies to create fast-paced mysteries set in the first-century world of the early church.

Lisa brings her analytic mind, quirky humor, and creative soul/unconventional mindset to all she writes. She is passionate about inspiring others (real and fictional) to become their best selves, living with intention, authenticity, and purpose.

In addition to historical novels, she has written humor articles, over seventy drama sketches, one full-length play, and a short non-fiction book. Her first mystery novel was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest and Death and a Crocodile received the gold medal in the mystery/suspense category from the Illumination Book Awards.

She serves as Managing Editor of Almost an Author, a website by and for writers, where she also writes a monthly column called “The Intentional Writer.” She enjoys speaking to groups large and small on topics related to Roman history, writing, intentional living, and faith. When not writing, or speaking, she can be found volunteering at The Village Library of Morgantown or experimenting with ancient Roman cooking.

She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband of thirty-plus years and a rambunctious cat named Scallywag who may be the inspiration for the unrepentant, sausage-snatching Nemesis.

For more information on Lisa, visit


Death and a Crocodile is a breath of fresh air compared to most historical fiction I have read. The author was able to take the Roman culture, a feisty heroine with a newfound love for Christ, and the courage to investigate the death of her father and combine it into a riveting who-done-it. I couldn't put it down and was hooked from the beginning.

The story is filled with mystery and intrigue that kept me continuously guessing. Livias' maid, Roxanna, was quirky with a sense of humor which Livia found amusing. The addition of Roxanna's cat, Nemesis, and his thievery kept me entertained.

I enjoyed following Livia's Christian beliefs and how she practiced kindness in spite of having to hide her faith most of the time. The ending wrapped up everything nicely and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed reading about Biblical times mixed with outstanding characters who possess courage and conviction.

I received a copy of the book from the author and willingly choose to review it. All opinions are my own.

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