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Publisher's Summary

From the creator of Falco comes Falco: The New Generation, featuring her unforgettable heroine, Flavia Albia, in her sixth novel. 

Flavia Albia is a private investigator, always drawn to an intriguing puzzle - even if it is put to her by her new husband's hostile ex-wife. On the Quirinal Hill, Clodia Volumnia, a very young girl with stars in her eyes, has died, amid suggestions that she was poisoned by a love potion. It will have been supplied by a local witch, who goes by the name of Pandora, though Albia learns that Pandora carries on a trade in herbal beauty products while hiding much more dangerous connections. Pandora's beloved grandson, a trainee hack lawyer, is one of the dead girl's empty-headed friends; can this be relevant? 

As she homes in on the truth, Albia has to contend with the occult, organised crime, an unusual fertility symbol, and celebrity dining. She discovers the young girl was a handful; her father mediates in disputes, yet has divorced his grief-stricken wife and is now suing his own mother-in-law; Clodia's so-called friends were none too friendly. The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal hides the smells of loose morality, casual betrayal and even gangland conflict. When a friend of her own is murdered, Albia determines to expose as much of this local sickness as she can - beginning with the truth about the death of little Clodia. 

©2018 Lindsey Davis (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic Reviews

"Davis's prose is a lively joy, and Flavia's Rome is sinister and gloriously real." (The Times on Sunday)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • L Weale
  • 06-09-18

Well read and touching mystery

I have taken to Flavia Albia, a feisty, sensible and often worried heroine and Lindsey Davis's investigative stories that tell us a lot about ancient Rome as well as giving us something to puzzle over.
As I get older I know I prefer mystery stories to the competitive horror of how cruel one person can be to another. There are two deaths in this story, one bewildering and one utterly grim and a great deal about the Roman middle-class. I have listened twice, enjoying it even more the second time round.
The Flavia Albia Audible books have a couple of different readers. I don't have a favourite and think they all have their strengths. Jane Collingwood does a fine job with Pandora's Boy.

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  • S A Hyden
  • 05-24-18

A fine addition to the Albia series

Good story well read and engaging. Albia is turning into Falcos worthy replacement as an informer

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 04-14-18

Albia is back - Roman baddies beware!

The family tragedy of a teenage daughter found dead in bed, punch ups between grannies, accusations of witchcraft (Emperor Domitian persecutes mathematicians and philosophers, so any suggestion of magic..!) is only the end of a thread of a tangle of scandal and crime in the affluent quarters of Rome, in which Albia is rather reluctantly engaged, at the request of her husband’s snooty and superficial ex-wife.

The spoiled adolescents of rich families behave just as underemployed, indulged youngsters have done, ever since some parts of human society was able to support idleness and an unearned sense of entitlement.
We also have middle-aged hippy parents, “Stoics”, like stinky old Cato, old ‘68ers, perhaps, without the apostrophe for 1968, enjoying nettle beer and mild dissident activity, on a decent unearned income from hardworking ancestors, but under Domitian’s paranoid and murderous rule, dangerous acquaintances - think McCarthyism!

There’s organised crime, working towards superficial respectability and “establishment” status, generation by generation ... nothing new under the sun!

I love the Falco family. They get around, cross class and ethnic barriers and translate 1st century life with humour, which must have been present then, but has been either censored out, or unrecorded, or lost over time in surviving written texts. There is a lot of historical background on the social life of the Roman Empire of the 1st century presented in this series in easily digestible form, much unknown or ignored until recently.
Albia is resilient, using her hideous childhood as a resource, rather than an excuse for self-pity, funny, and, not being Roman by birth, capable of seeing beyond the accepted norms, but adapting when required. She has outgrown her adolescent door slamming and flouncing, once enhanced by her insecurities of adoption into an alien culture, early
deprivation and abuse, lack of identity.

I look forward to hearing more of her, and her younger siblings, especially the wee brother who has Asperger’s, son of the outrageous and engaging snake-dancer Thalia, and, allegedly, Falco’s roguish father..

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  • Ron
  • 04-10-18

Starting to go off the boil

Not sure if this is a dip in the usual high standard, but Flavia is starting to come across all jolly hockey sticks and lacking the edge that Falco had, the constant references in this book of Falco made me pine for the old days, maybe a joint investigation to come, though voice wise i'm unsure how that would work.

Hopefully a blip and the best is to come

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  • Barbara
  • 04-09-18

another good story from Rome

The Flavia Albia tales of detection are good choices for audio books. The narration was excellent, with enough variation without over dramatising. The lightness of approach fits well with Lindsay Davis's writing style.
The story is less dramatic than some, with a good Poirot type denouement which revealed what readers will probably have deduced some time earlier. The interest lies in the society and culture of Rome in the time of Domitian. We are introduced to a smarter area of the city, the Quirinal.

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  • V
  • 04-20-18

Great performance of a brilliant series

I have read all these books, they are a great series and Jane Collingwood is very convincing in her reading.