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Friday, June 15, 2012

Three Hands in the Fountain by Lindsey Davis

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Rome, A.D. 73

First Sentence: The fountain was not working.

This novel is the ninth in Lindsey Davis's Falco mystery series.  Marcus Didius Falco is ancient Rome's version of a private investigator.  Sometimes he works for  suspicious husbands and wives.  Sometimes he works for the emperor.  And sometimes he works for himself to see that justice is done.  He has a messy family life, which he must balance with his often dangerous work.

In this installment of the series, Falco and his wife Helena Justina have just returned to Rome from Spain.  With them is their newly born infant Julia.  Being away from Rome on assignment for the emperor has not been good for Falco's career.  His friend, Petro, has lost his job as a vigile, a Roman policeman.  He has been having an affair with the daughter of a known criminal.  Petro and Falco decide to go into business together.

They soon discover that severed human body parts occasionally turn up in Rome's water system.  Sensing a chance to turn this information into a paying gig they investigate further.  The body parts are usually female.  And they usually appear around the same times as the many Roman Games.

Can Falco and Petro discover who has been killing these women, and polluting the water system, before someone else dies?

I enjoyed this novel.  It was a good chapter in a great historical mystery series.  What I really like about the Falco series is Davis's great voice.  She makes Falco and his family seem real.  I also like the little touches of life that don't have anything to do with the plot, but make the story fun to read.

Three Hands in the Fountain

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