Enemies at home

Lindsey Davis

Book - 2014

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Series
Davis, Lindsey. Flavia Albia mystery.
Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Minotaur Books 2014.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Physical Description
342 pages : illustration ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250023773
1250023777
Main Author
Lindsey Davis (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Fans of mysteries set in ancient Rome are well aware of Marcus Didius Falco, the investigator who has starred in 20-odd novels since his debut in the late 1980s. In 2013's The Ides of April, Davis switched gears and introduced a new investigator protagonist: Flavia Albia, Falco's adopted, British-born daughter. She's certainly a chip off the ol' block: fans of the Falco novels will see reflections of his wit and tenacity in his daughter, and in this, her second novel, her skills at investigation and diplomacy are put to the test. The apparent murders of a Roman couple could have extreme ramifications, due to a law that requires that all slaves of a murdered Roman citizen be automatically (and immediately) put to death. The slaves of these murder victims are well aware of the law and have already gone on the run, hiding out at the Temple of Ceres, a sort of sanctuary for refugees from Roman law. Flavia's assignment: solve the murders and, if possible, save the lives of the innocent slaves. Among their many virtues, perhaps the most appealing thing about Davis' Roman mysteries is their nimble prose, unfettered by clots of scene-setting and drawn-out historical exposition. The dialogue is breezy, free of faux-historical grammatical constructions, and the characters feel like contemporary men and women who happen to be living a long time ago. The Flavia Albia series promises to be every bit as exciting and enduring as the Falco mysteries. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Set in Rome in 89 C.E., Davis's sequel to 2013's The Ides of April boasts a strong female lead. Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, who starred in his own 20-book series, carries on the family tradition as an informer, the ancient Roman equivalent of a private detective. Manlius Faustus, a government official, asks Flavia to find out who strangled Valerius Aviola and Mucia Lucilla, a newlywed couple, in their apartment on the Esquiline Hill. The investigating officer has taken the easy way out by accusing some of the household's slaves of the crime, but Faustus has his doubts. Despite violating a number of her cardinal rules (e.g., "Never take on clients who cannot pay you"), Flavia accepts the case. Diamond Dagger Award winner Davis vividly portrays the setting, "a poisoned city, where a paranoid emperor had caused often-lethal mistrust," but she plays less than fair in her clues to the killer's identity. (July) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The first-century Roman daughter of Marcus Didius Falco investigates a murder and burglary for which the victims' innocent slaves will be executed unless the real culprit is found.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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. When a couple is found dead in their own bedroom and their house burglarized, some of their household slaves know what is about to happen to them. They flee to the Temple of Ceres, which by tradition is respected as a haven for refugees. This is where Flavia Albia comes in. The authorities, under pressure from all sides, need a solution. Albia, a private informer just like her father, Marcus Didius Falco, is asked to solve the murders.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A follow-up to The Ides of April finds the first-century Roman daughter of Marcus Didius Falco investigating a murder and burglary for which the victims' innocent slaves will be executed unless the real culprit is found. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"There are rules for private informers accepting a new case. Never take on clients who cannot pay you. Never do favours for friends. Don't work with relatives. If, like me, you are a woman, keep clear of men you find attractive. "Will I never learn?" 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. When a couple is found dead in their own bedroom and their house burglarized, some of their household slaves know what is about to happen to them. They flee to the Temple of Ceres, which by tradition is respected as a haven for refugees. This is where Flavia Albia comes in. The authorities, under pressure from all sides, need a solution. Albia, a private informer just like her father, Marcus Didius Falco, is asked to solve the murders, in this mystery from Lindsey Davis.