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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Rome, 89 AD

First Sentence:  Lucius was three years old when his mother took her eyes off him and he ran out of the house to play.

Lindsey Davis is one of my favorite authors.  She is the author of the twenty novel Marcus Didius Falco historical mystery series.  Set in the first century AD, these novels feature a most unique main character.  Falco is an informer, what we would call an investigator.  He is Rome's version of Sam Spade: tough, with an eye for detail, and a sense of justice.

Flavia Alba, the main character of this novel, is the adopted daughter of Falco.  Unlike most Roman women, she lives by herself and is self supporting.  Like her father she too is an informer.  She also has a tough spirit and keen sense of justice.

The action of this novel takes place twelve years after the Falco novel "Nemesis."  One of Flavia's clients has died under mysterious circumstances - suddenly and without obvious wounds.  After making some inquiries, Flavia finds that several other people have died under similar circumstances.

Flavia then learns that the authorities are aware of the mysterious deaths.  At first, they ask Flavia to stop investigating the case.  The authorities are afraid of frightening the populace.  Soon, the authorities learn that Flavia's investigations are helpful in solving the case.

While working on the case, Flavia makes some visits to her interesting family, and she acquires a friend/love interest.

As she gets closer to solving the case, Flavia learns that she and her brother are at risk.

Will Flavia discover the identity of the murderer before she and her brother become victims?

I enjoyed this mystery.  I was successful in identifying the culprit before the reveal.  And the action surrounding the capture of the murderer kept my interest to the very end of the novel.

If you are a fan of Falco, you will enjoy this novel.  It is written in a similar easy to read style. If you haven't read the Falco books, this novel is a good introduction to Davis's writing  style.  It's a stand-alone novel that introduces a great new character.  I look forward to reading more novels about Flavia Alba in ancient Rome.

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