J M Alvey studied Classics at Oxford in the 1980s. As an undergraduate, achievements in startling tutors included citing the comedic principles of Benny Hill in relation to Aristophanes’ plays, and using military war-gaming rules to analyse contradictions in historic accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae. Crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers have always been relaxation reading, alongside an abiding fascination with history and the ancient world. These interests have come together in the investigations of Philocles Hestaiou, comic playwright and pen for hire in classical Athens, when trade and culture flourished in the peace between the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars. He pursues his most recent challenge in Justice for Athena, following Shadows of Athens and Scorpions in Corinth.