Davis (Nemesis) ingeniously breathes life into her Ancient Rome series, which has reached 20 books, by shifting the focus from Marcus Didius Falco to his adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, who follows in her father’s footsteps by becoming an investigator. Salvidia, the owner of a business that refurbishes bars, retains Flavia to avoid liability after an out-of-control company cart kills a three-year-old boy. Before Flavia can really get to work, Salvidia dies, despite having been in good health. As Flavia begins to ask questions, she’s disturbed to learn that other Romans have also dropped dead suddenly. Unsettled by her inquiries, the powers-that-be seek to avoid a panic resulting from word getting out that foul play may be involved. The solution isn’t one of Davis’s most dexterous, but the smooth transition between leads provides hope that Flavia could have as long a literary run as Marcus. (June)
“Davis’ best-selling historical mysteries brim with colorful characters and rich period detail, providing readers with a vivid portrait of ancient Rome.” —Booklist on Master and God
“Lindsey Davis doesn't just bring Rome to life—she brings Rome to life better than anyone else ever has.” —Detroit Free Press on The Silver Pigs
"An irresistible package of history, mystery, and fast-moving action, all punctuated by a sense of humor that few writers can match." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Venus in Copper
A second-generation Roman sleuth who lives by her wits needs all of them to solve a string of killings that strike too close to home. In A.D. 89, during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, Flavia Albia works as an informer in the shadow of her famous father, Falco. It's a difficult job, especially for a woman. Hired by a woman named Salvidia to "apply legal pressure to some compensation-seekers," Flavia gets stiffed when her client turns up stiff, a victim of botanical poisoning. She doesn't originally suspect foul play, but when Salvidia's stepson Metellus Nepos hires her to investigate, Flavia is certainly willing to take the gig. She finds a handful of enemies of the deceased, but none quite rises to the dubious status of suspect. What she doesn't see coming is the unexpected death of Salvidia's friend and neighbor, Celendina, right after attending Salvidia's funeral ceremony. Nepos is apoplectic. Flavia visits the lazy local investigator, Titus Morellus, for his opinion, and he immediately implicates the elaborately grieving stepson. A spate of similarly suspicious deaths follows, but the victims--a toddler, a teen, an athlete, etc.--range far and wide in age and gender. There seems no conceivable pattern, unless Flavia can find one. Flavia Albia makes her debut courtesy of the author of the long-running Marcus Didius Falco series (Nemesis, 2010, etc.). This installment includes the same helpful map of the city and cast of characters and a feistier style. The whodunit unfolds slowly, but Flavia demonstrates appealing wit and grit.
Davis's latest mystery set in ancient Rome during the reign of Domitian centers on Flavia Alba, the adopted daughter of series sleuth Marcus Falco (Nemesis; Shadows in Bronze). Sharp-witted and sharp-tongued, Flavia investigates a series of sudden and unexplained deaths. Not only must she find a killer, but she must work as a female informant in a male-dominated society. Davis combines excellent research, expansive knowledge, and vivid writing to immerse readers in ancient Rome. The people and places of the city seem both authentic and familiar. VERDICT This series launch is a great read for mystery fans but is especially suggested for those who enjoy their crime fiction in a historical setting. There are some sexual themes and very mild violence, but nothing is explicit or inappropriate for teenagers.—Matt Schirano, Grand Canyon Univ. Lib., Phoenix