Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Ancient Rome, 89 AD
First Sentence: Even before I started, I knew I should say no.
This novel is the second in Lindsey Davis's Flavia Alba series. This series is a spin-off from Davis's Falco series also based in ancient Rome.
Flavia Albia's father is Marcus Falco. Flavia was a British orphan adopted by Falco an his wife. Now Albia is following in her father's footsteps and working as a paid informer.
Flavia has been asked by her friend Manlius Faustus to investigate a murder. It seems that a newlywed couple has been killed, their silver plate stolen, and their slaves claiming sanctuary in a nearby temple. In Rome, when a slave holder is killed, suspicion usually falls upon the slaves. They are questioned under torture and then executed.
Manlius has asked Flavia to examine the evidence and question the slaves, in order to show that the slaves are truly guilty of the crime.
As she investigates, Flavia begins to understand what life is like for slaves. Although they are possessed by their masters they have emotions and relationships often unseen by their owners.
And lurking in the background is the knowledge that they can be sold off at the whim of their master. In the end, Flavia learns that this is the ultimate cause of the deaths of the newlyweds.
I enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of Lindsey Davis's novels. I's sure that I 'll soon pick up another Flavia Albia novel.