Fans of "informer" Marcus Didius Falco will be glad to find the classical world's answer to the modern-day gumshoe back in Rome in Davis's stellar historical, the 15th entry in this witty and learned series, after two adventures set in Britain (A Body in the Bathhouse; The Jupiter Myth). In an effort to resume his career as an informer on his home turf, Falco ends up playing advocate in a messy dispute that pits him against two highly successful "legals," Paccius Africanus and Silius Italicus. The convoluted case, which involves a wealthy, fractious family and tricky questions of inheritance, gives Davis the opportunity to explore the vagaries of Roman law, which she approaches with her usual mix of respect and sarcasm. The corruption conviction of senator Rubirius Metellus followed by his mysterious demise threaten the Metelli family's fortunes. Hired to prove the senator's death was not a suicide, Falco finds himself immersed in scandal, blackmail, corruption and intrigue-common ingredients of legal practice. In one particularly fine scene, Falco delivers a speech in the Basilica that relies on amusing and effective rhetorical tricks. Wry, cynical and principled, Falco makes the perfect guide to Davis's vividly realized ancient Rome. (Apr. 22) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Marcus Didius Falco (The Jupiter Myth) is back, cheeky as ever, this time matching his wits against two sleek lawyers intimately involved with the evident suicide of a Roman senator accused of corruption. Did he or didn't he? Of course, Falco uncovers the truth, though just barely; the ending is a surprise and surprisingly affecting. Meanwhile, the brothers of Falco's beloved Helen continue learning how hard the life of an informer can be and grow up just a little. Topnotch work in a topnotch series. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Fifteenth adventure for the inimitable Roman shamus (official job title: informant) Marcus Didius Falco. Returning home in 75 a.d. with his wife Helena and their brood (including a scene-stealing dog named Nux) after an extended stay in Londinium (The Jupiter Myth, 2003), Falco needs some quick cash. That's why he holds his nose and accepts a commission from two slick lawyers to gather evidence in the trial of wealthy and influential senator Rubirius Metellus, who's charged with abuse of office-specifically, with selling appointments. The sleaziness of the case, and his dislike of the arrogant Metellus, keep Falco at a distance. Still, Metellus' quick conviction owes much to the excellence of the gumshoe's work. So when Metellus dies by poisoning a month later, it falls to Falco to investigate. What should be a simple probe is complicated by the unanimous contempt of the Metellus clan and its servants for their master, and by his own stated desire to commit suicide. Indeed, the first official ruling is suicide until a comically complicated series of explanations triggers a shift to accidental poisoning. But this is only the beginning: Each of Metellus' three ungrateful children falls under suspicion in turn, followed by his barely grieving widow, before the methodical Falco ferrets out the killer. As usual, Davis's sprightly narrative focuses on customs, history, and details of the Metellus and Falco households and takes its time unraveling the mystery.
Queen of the humorous crime romp is Lindsey Davis.”
“A pure delight, with Davis’s unique blend of wit and humour brilliantly immersing us in the marvels of ancient Roman life.”
—Good Book Guide