The Accusers (Marcus Didius Falco Series #15)

The Accusers (Marcus Didius Falco Series #15)

by Lindsey Davis


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- The Accusers was published in Mysterious Press hardcover (0-89296-811-7) in 4/04. This trade paperback edition will tie into Davis's new hardcover, Scandal Takes a Holiday, due from Mysterious press in 9/04
- Lindsey Davis's prior novel, The Jupiter Myth, appeared on London's Sunday Times bestseller list. It was published by Mysterious Press in hardcover in 9/03 and in trade paperback in 5/04.
- The creators of PBS's Inspector Morse television series are producing a series about Marcus Didius Falco, with scripts currently in development.
- First Lady Laura Bush is a big fan of Davis's international bestselling novels, and the author received the Crime Writers Association's Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award in 199. Davis will be a guest of honor at Bouchercon 2004 in Toronto.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446693295
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2004
Series: Marcus Didius Falco Series , #15
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Lindsey Davis is an English novelist of historical fiction and best known for her award-winning historical crime stories set in ancient Rome and its empire, the acclaimed Marcus Didius Falco series and the Flavia Albia series. Her novels have won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award and in 2011 the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association for lifetime achievement. Born and raised in Birmingham, England, she read English at Oxford and worked for the civil service for thirteen years before becoming a writer.

Simon Prebble, a British-born performer, is a stage and television actor and veteran narrator of some three hundred audiobooks. As one of AudioFile's Golden Voices, he has received thirty-seven Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie in 2010. He lives in New York.

Read an Excerpt


I had been an informer for over a decade when I finally learned what the job entailed.

There were no surprises. I knew how society viewed us: lowborn hangers-on, upstarts too impatient for honest careers, or corrupt nobles. The lowest grade was proudly occupied by me, Marcus Didius Falco, son of the utterly plebeian rogue Didius Favonius, heir to nothing and possessing only nobodies for ancestors. My most famous colleagues worked in the Senate and were themselves senators. In popular thought we were all parasites, bent on destroying respectable men.

I knew how it worked at street level -- a hotch-potch of petty investigative jobs, all ill-paid and despised, a career that was often dangerous too. I was about to see the glorious truth of informing senatorial-style. In the late summer of the year that I returned with my family from my British trip, I worked with Paccius Africanus and Silius Italicus, two famous informers at the top of their trade; some of you may have heard of them. Legals. That is to say, these noble persons made criminal accusations, most of which were just about viable, argued without blatant lies and supported by some evidence, with a view to condemning fellow senators and then snatching huge proportions of their doomed colleagues' rich estates. The law, ever fair, makes decent compensation for selfless application to demeaning work. Justice has a price. In the informing community the price is at least twenty-five per cent; that is twenty-five per cent of all the condemned man's seaside villas, city property, farms, and other investment holdings. In abuse of office or treason cases, the Emperor may intervene; he can bestow alarger reward package, much larger sometimes. Since the minimum estate of a senator is a million sesterces -- and that's poverty for the élite - this can be a nice number of town houses and olive groves.

All informers are said to be vile collaborators, currying favour, contributing to repression, profiteering, targeting victims, and 1.working the courts for their personal advantage. Right or wrong, it was my job. It was all I knew -- and I knew I was good at it. So, back in Rome, after half a year away, I had to stick a dagger down my boot and make myself available for hire.

It started simply enough. It was autumn. I was home. I had returned with my family, including my two young brothers-in-law, Camillus Aelianus and Camillus Justinus, a pair of patrician wild boys who were supposed to assist me in my work. Funds were not flush. Frontinus, the British governor, had paid us only rock bottom provincial rates for various audit and surveillance jobs, though we did secrete away a sweetener from a tribal king who liked the diplomatic way we had handled things. I was hoping for a second bonus from the Emperor but it would take a long time to filter through. And I had to keep quiet about the King's gift. Don't get me wrong. Vespasian owed me plenty. But I wanted to stay out of trouble. If the august one called my double bonus an accounting error, I would retract my invoice to him. Well, probably.

Six months was a long time to be out of the city. No clients remembered us. Our advertisements chalked on walls in the Forum had long since faded. We could expect no meaty new commissions for some time.

That was why, when I was asked to handle a minor documents job, I accepted. I don't generally act as someone else's courier, but we needed to show that Falco and Associates were active again. The prosecutor in a case in progress had an affidavit to be collected, fast, from a witness in Lanuvium. It was straightforward. The witness had to confirm that a certain loan had been repaid. I didn't even go myself. I hate Lanuvium. I sent Justinus. He obtained the signed statement without bother; since he was inexperienced in legal work, I myself took it to court.

On trial was a senator called Rubirius Metellus. The charge was abuse of office, a serious offence. The case had apparently been going on for weeks. I knew nothing about it, having been starved of Forum gossip. It was unclear what part the document we fetched had to play. I made the deposition, after which I suffered uncalled-for abuse from the filthy defence lawyer, who made out that as an informer from a plebeian district I was an unfit character witness. I bit back the retort that the Emperor had raised my status to equestrian; mentioning Vespasian seemed inappropriate and my middle-class rank would just cause more sneers. Luckily the judge was eager to adjourn for lunch; he commented rather wearily that I was only the messenger, then he told them to get on with it.

I had no interest in the trial and I wasn't going to stick around to be called irrelevant. Once my job there was finished, I left. The prosecutor never even spoke to me. He must have done a decent job, because not long afterwards I heard that Metellus had been convicted and that a large financial judgment had been made against him. Presumably he was quite well off -- well, he had been until then. We joked that Falco and Associates should have asked for a higher fee. Two weeks later Metellus was dead. Apparently it was suicide. In this situation his heirs would escape having to pay up, which no doubt suited them. It was hard luck on the prosecutor, but that was the risk he took.

He was Silius Italicus. Yes, I mentioned him. He was extremely well known, quite powerful -- and suddenly for some reason he wanted to see me.

Copyright© 2003 by Lindsey Davis

Table of Contents

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Accusers (Marcus Didius Falco Series #15) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
nolak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a family will that leaves no money to son or wife, but to daughter-in-law. Some hanky panky with her or something else? What happened to the family fortune and why was the father killed?
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Falco's back in Rome, and enmeshed in the Roman legal system. There's a slight shift in perspective (to a case book format which Davis did not stick with) but Falco is still Falco, and in top form. The story is interesting, and the insights into the Roman legal system fascinating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the books, it captures the society and personalities most vividly
Bookmarque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not nearly as harrowing as some earlier episodes as Falco only gets the crap beat out of him once. Apparently having minions is useful for avoiding such things. I'm not sure I like Falco all domesticated and cozy though. I prefer his bachelor days of getting by on the skin of his teeth and bluffing his way through everything. This Falco seems tamer, dimmer and much more in control. The mystery was good and the characters well drawn as usual. The shenanigans were believable as I've read a good deal of Roman history from this era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I want to do is give a rating. Don't feel like writing a review all the time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks I got hooked on Falco years ago. He's like candy, you want another piece right away. There is no need to summer is the plots, it Falco at it ironic. I just wish that B&N and the e-publishers would clearly number the chronology of the volumes and release the missing ones in the e-liberay so the character and cast evolution would be considered for the readers.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
In 75 AD, Roman Informant Marcus Didius Falco, his wife Helena, their two perfect children and Nux the mutt (who like the humans treat Falco like a dumb pet) return home after spending time in Londinium (see THE JUPITER MYTH). The trip leaves Falco broke so though he is normally a very principled informant he reluctantly accepts as clients two shyster lawyers Paccius Africanus and Silius Italicus though he detests doing so. They hire him to find evidence on whether wealthy senator Rubirius Metellus peddled appointments................................ Falco¿s work leads to the conviction of the arrogant Metellus', but not long afterward, the odious politician is poisoned; officialdom rules death by suicide. Fearing loss of income and subsequent lifestyle due to the tricky quirky inheritance laws, Metellus¿ family hires Falco to make inquiries into his death. However, Falco soon finds a legion of individuals including his new clients and their servants with strong motives to kill the malicious Metellus......................... The private investigation takes a back seat to a witty look at Ancient Rome as readers gain much insight (especially when compared with visiting Brit Albia) into the Falco family and the Metellus household. Falco is a fine tour guide who takes readers on quite a trek around Rome not always the tourist sights while solving the mystery of Metellus¿ abuse of power followed by finding the killer. Fans will appreciate this insightful historical mystery that retains the series trade mark fresh look at the first century................................. Harriet Klausner