Can a tough detective possess the soul of a poet? After a public reading brings him rousing applause, Falco receives an offer to have his work published. But his ego takes a beating when the banker Chrysippus demands payment for putting the verse on papyrus. Hell hath no fury like an author scorned, and when Chrysippus turns up murdered - in the library, no less - it's poetic justice. Appointed the official investigator, Falco's soon up to his stylus in outraged writers and shifty bankers.
"Continues to be good"
Rome, August AD 89. Flavia Albia, the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, has taken up her father's former profession as an informer. On a typical day, it's small cases - cheating spouses, employees dipping into the till - but this isn't a typical day. Her beloved, the plebeian Manlius Faustus, has recently moved in and decided that they should get married in a big, showy ceremony as part of beginning a proper domestic life together.
Some things never change. With his new villa, Falco also gets a timeless headache: building contractors. After the departure of two shady plasterers, a rank odor in the bathhouse soon leads to the discovery of a corpse under the mosaic floor. Should Falco follow the culprits to remote Britannica? Despite the British weather (damp), the inhabitants (barbarians), and the wine (second-rate), Falco takes his whole family and goes. In veritas, Falco has another, secret reason for this exodus.
When Marcus Didius Falco encounters the young and very pretty Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately that there is something amiss. When she confesses that she is fleeing for her life, Falco offers to help her and, in doing so, gets himself mixed up in a deadly plot involving stolen ingots, dangerous and dark political machinations, and, most hazardous of all, one Helena Justina - a brash, indomitable senator's daughter connected to the very traitors that Falco has sworn to expose.
"Excellent Narrator, Good Story"
It's the first century AD, and Marcus Didius Falco, ancient Rome's favorite son and sometimes palace spy, has just been dealt a lousy blow from the gods: the beautiful, high-born Helena Justina has left him in the dust. So when the Emperor Vespasian calls upon him to investigate an act of treason, Falco is more than ready for a distraction. Disguised as an idle vacationer in the company of his best friend Petronius, Falco travels from the Isle of Capreae to Neapolis and all the way to the great city of Pompeii.
After six months in wild Germania, imperial gumshoe Marcus Didius Falco is back in Rome sweet Rome - but his apartment has been ransacked. And although he desperately needs 400,000 sesterces in order to marry his aristocratic love, Helena, his only client is his mother, who insists that he find out whether the scandalous claims against his dead brother, Festus, are true. Then the chief tarnisher of Festus' good name is murdered, and Marcus becomes the prime suspect.
Lindsey Davis drops by the Audible Studios to talk about her career as a historical novelist; how she develop her characters, how historically accurate are they, where her inspiration come from and more.
In ancient Rome, the number of slaves was far greater than that of free citizens. As a result, often the people Romans feared most were the "enemies at home," the slaves under their own roofs. Because of this, Roman law decreed that if the head of a household was murdered at home, and the culprit wasn't quickly discovered, his slaves - all of them, guilty or not - were presumed responsible and were put to death...without exception.
Marcus Didius Falco is about to get involved in a nasty noir crime, involving gangsters, gladiators, and romance. For Falco, a relaxed visit to his wife Helena's relatives in Britain suddenly turns serious. He and his family are staying in London when Falco is summoned to the scene of a murder. The victim, Verovolcus, was a renegade with ties to Roman crime magnates operating in London, but he was also close to King Togidubnus. So when he is discovered dead, stuffed headfirst down a well, a tricky diplomatic situation develops that Falco must defuse.
Marcus Didius Falco and his laddish friend Petronius find their local fountain has been blocked - by a gruesomely severed human hand. Soon other body parts are being found in the aqueducts and sewers. Public panic overcomes official indifference, and the Aventine partners are commissioned to investigate. Women are being abducted during festivals, and the next Games are only days away.
"Falco is reliably enjoyable listening"
The spirit of adventure calls Marcus Didius Falco on a new spying mission for Emperor Vespasian to the untamed East. He picks up extra fees from his old friend, Thalia the snake dancer, as he searches for Sophrona, her lost water organist. With the chief spy, Anacrites, paying his fare, Falco knows anything can go wrong.
"Awful narration but good story"
Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina. From her mother, she learned how to blend in at all levels of society; from her father, she learned the tricks of their mutual professional trade. But her wits and (frequently) sharp tongue are hers alone. Now, working as a private informer in Rome during the reign of Domitian, Flavia has taken over her father’s old ramshackle digs at Fountain Court in the Surbura district, where she plies her trade with energy, determination, and the usual Falco luck.
"Prefer dead old dad"
Rome, AD 71. Marcus Didius Falco is desperate to leave the notorious Lautumiae prison - though being bailed out by his mother is a slight indignity. Things go from bad to worse when a group of nouveau riche ex-slaves hire him to outwit a fortune-hunting redhead whose husbands have a habit of dying accidentally, leaving him up against a female contortionist, her extra-friendly snake, indigestible cakes, and rent racketeers.
"Wonderful sense of place"
Rats are always bigger than you expect.' Falco, ancient Rome's hangdog investigator, hates sharing a cell with a rodent - though being bailed by his old mother is almost as embarrassing. His high-born girlfriend can't decide if she wants him, and Titus Caesar's reward for past services is a wet fish. Hoping for a better life, or at least a better apartment, he takes on new clients. On the elegant slopes of the Pincian Hill, three nouveau riche freedmen with two flashy wives are under siege by a clever redhead.
"Up to the usual high standard"
Men are fools for love. And that includes Marcus Didius Falco. To please his beloved, the tough shamus has become Procurer of the Sacred Poultry (i.e., babysitter of the temple geese). It's steady work and good pay, but Falco is soon restless. So when a beautiful child, chosen to enter the secret order of Vestal Virgins, disappears, he grabs the case. He quickly discovers that greed and religious fervor are only a thread away from madness.
Surprisingly, nobody is poisoned at the Society of Olive Oil Producers banquet; the attempted murder of Rome's chief spy occurs immediately afterward. Suspicion falls, quick as the Italian night, on the dinner's sinuous dancer, a lady who has already left for Corduba, Spain. Naturally, Marcus Didius Falco, the Philip Marlowe of Roman detectives, is dispatched to follow her. But he has pledged to stay with Helena, his pregnant, patrician wife, until she gives birth.
"Incredible author. Perfect reader."
When Germanic troops in the service of the empire begin to rebel,and a Roman general disappears, Emperor Vespasian turns to the one man he can trust: Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer whose rates are low enough that even the stingy Vespasian is willing to pay them.
Nothing's certain except death and taxes. Catching tax evaders for Emperor Vespasian looks like a plum position for Marcus Didius Falco, who has teamed up with his old boss, Anacrites, the crotchety chief spy of Rome. Soon, however, Falco is bogged down in bureaucracy, stuck at his stylus, and longing for a good murder to investigate. He gets one when someone kills Leonidas, the empire's official executioner.
"love this series"
Balbinus Pius, the most notorious gangster in Emperor Vespasian's Rome, has been convicted of a capital crime at last. A quirk of Roman law, however, allows citizens condemned to death "time to depart" and find exile outside the empire. Now, as every hoodlum in Rome scrambles to take over Balbinus' operations, private eye Marcus Didius Falco has to deal with an unprecedented wave of crime - and the sneaking suspicion that Balbinus' exile may not really be so permanent after all.
"love the mystery!"
In the first century AD, during Domitian's reign, Flavia Albia is ready for a short break from her family. So in July she returns to Rome, leaving them at their place on the coast. Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, who is now retired as private informer, has taken up her father's former profession, and it's time to get back to work. The first order of business, however, is the corpse found in a chest sent as part of a large lot to be sold by the Falco family auction house.
"best of the the series so far!"