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Monday, August 20, 2012

A Body in the Bathhouse by Lindsey Davis

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Ancient Rome and Britain, 75 AD

First Sentence: But for Rhea Favona, we might have lived with it.

This novel is the thirteenth in Davis's Falco historical mystery novel series.

Marcus Didius Falco leads a complicated life.  He is, after all, an informer and investigator in ancient Rome.

First, he discovers a dead body hidden under the floor in his father brand new bathhouse.  Interestingly, the contractors for the bathhouse have departed from Rome.  Perhaps they are bound for the Emperor's large construction project in Britain.

Then, it just so happens that the Emperor wants Falco to investigate why the project has turned into a royal money pit.

And, to make matters worse, Falco's sister's house has been ransacked by a stalker.  The stalker happens to be  Falco's former partner, and current enemy, Anacrites.  Falco needs to get his sister out of town to keep her safe.

Finally, Falco has a toothache.

So Falco gathers up his wife, daughters, sister, brothers-in-law, children's nurse and Nux the dog. for a family expedition to barbarous Britain.

Once in Britain, Falco (the man from Rome) stirs up trouble while investigating the fraudulent schemes he finds at the construction site.  He and his family could be in danger from angry contractors.  Then both the current and former architects are murdered on the same night.

Can Falco keep his family safe, solve the murder of the architects, curb the fraud at the construction project, find the murderous bathhouse builders, and find relief for his dental misery?

I enjoyed this novel.  I like Falco as a character.  He seems like someone I'd like to meet if I lived in ancient Rome.  As usual, Davis has used a large cast of characters in this novel.  Thankfully, she has provided a list of principal characters.

Although the novel stands up by itself well, I suggest reading the novels in order.  I read this novel out of order and it took me a few chapters to get oriented.

Overall, a  good read, and a good chapter in a great series.

A Body in the Bathhouse

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