I like the Flavia Albia mysteries more with each book and that’s especially true of Albia’s and Tiberius Manlius Faustus’s relationship. Plus Tiberius fits in so well with Albia’s family. The scenes with her little sisters Julia and Favonia, the wedding planners, were amusing and I particularly enjoyed their description of Falco smoothing things over with Tiberius’s Uncle Tullius. It was nice seeing so many characters from the Falco series make an appearance at the wedding. As always, Davis provides a wealth of information about Roman life without making it seem like a history lesson. Oh, and I loved the ending of the wedding procession. Others may have seen it coming but I confess I did not.
Flavia Albia is dreading her upcoming wedding as much as her mischievous little sisters Julia and Favonia are gleefully conspiring to make the event the greatest spectacle ever seen on the Aventine, complete with a sacrificial pig and sheep-
...until, thank goodness, Flavia finds something else to get her mind off the Big Party : six human bodies unearthed at a construction site by her prospective groom Tiberius Manlius Faustus, along with a dog and a ‘chicken’.
She easily figures out who the dog was, but what about the others? And there appears to be a missing head, and a missing leg. Who - and where - are they? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.
There’s lots of Lindsey Davis’s trademark, cracklingly sharp and witty dialogue, character development, and plenty of surprising plot twists and turns along the way, but, in the end, Zeus himself might be required to intervene to see justice properly served, although it is tempered with mercy as well: the lentil broker gets out of town just in the nick, and the pig escapes!
Highly recommended. You will enjoy this one, especially since you are all invited to the wedding!
Witty historic fiction set in First Century (AD/CE Rome that extends the adventures of the wonderful Falco series by the estimable Lindsey Davis. This book, and the rest of the offshoot series, features Falco's daughter Flavia Albia, following in her father's career as a private detective (informer). To the best of my recollection, the Flavia Albia stories veer more strongly toward inclusion of a romantic story strain that probably existed to some extent in the original books, but was less noticeable somehow. In "Graveyard...", a big part of the story is the countdown toward the heroine's wedding with her Roman official main squeeze. Albia proves to be a kind of reverse Bridezilla--not particularly anxious to experience the traditional marriage hype, but still going along with her enthusiastic fiance and family.
The story and series are entertaining enough, but (in my opinion), there is a bit too much contemporary sensibility built into the dialogues and interactions. The author would probably argue that humankind has always behaved in certain predictable patterns and ancient Rome was no exception. Perhaps she's right..
Flavia is planning a wedding, well not really, she is letting her sisters do that and consenting to the big splashy affair. Faustus has taken over the building company a previous client left on her death as well as the home which will be fixed up just in time for the wedding. But one of the jobs on the books was the bar called the Garden of Hesperides. The workmen dig up a skeleton and Flavia investigates the rumor that it is a long vanished barmaid killed by the previous owner, also dead. Soon more bodies are found and no one is giving straight answers. The wedding is setting a clock on all these activities. Love all the cheeky references in Falco style - Trajan pre Emperor Spanish upstart days is buying Fountain Court. Also enjoy the presence in the background of Falco and co. Uncle Petrus old case notes help solve this mystery. Yet this is Flavia not Falco's story its very unassuming, more inside jokes than actual content.
In Lindsey Davis' mysteries, you are always given all the suspects, but you're never quite sure of all the characters which ones really are suspects. This one is interesting because, all through the story, you are convinced that you'll never get an answer. Admittedly the denouement is a bit hokey, but it is unexpected and does create a hook for the next, as yet unwritten, book. As in all her books, the culture and mores of Rome and it's citizens, especially the lower class, are the key to the solution. Here several plot lines interweave to keep you constantly off-balance and like any good mystery, many of those lines have no real bearing on the solution. Although the story is told by Albia, many of the characters exhibit a depth to which you can picture their habits and even how they are gesturing as they talk, without that added in the narrative. And yes, the classic comedy scene occurs during the [redacted]. Sorry, you'll have to read to find out.
Flavia Albia, Falco’s adopted daughter, has taken up her father’s profession and is a reasonably successful private informer in Domitian’s Rome. And she’s now living with her lover, Manlius Faustus, who is planning a blowout wedding for them in the near future. He’s started a building firm, and has taken a contract to improve the property of a rundown dive bar called the Garden of the Hesperides; shortly after they start digging in its courtyard, though, they turn up a skeleton, and further digging unearths several more. Flavia investigates (with some help from Manlius Faustus), and it appears that the problem goes well back into the past but that someone wants to prevent anyone for learning what it was. I can’t say I like Flavia Albia as much as I did Marcus Didius Falco, but this continuation of the series is still quite enjoyable.