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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 April 2015
I am growing to like this series more and more with each volume! Lindsey Davis has a feel for an earthy, vibrant Rome, where opulence and wretchedness live side by side, and are much more intermixed than they are today.
Her characters are constantly developing, and not always as you would expect - or want!
The story here could sound very modern, but feels equally at home in the Roman setting.
If you are thinking of reading any of the Falco books, I would urge you to read them in order; you will get a lot more out of them that way.
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on 23 July 2017
love it
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on 12 August 2017
very happy
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on 6 January 2016
Brilliant story! As usual, Lindsey Davis is on top form.
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on 14 September 2014
Good read.
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on 18 July 2017
brilliant as ever.
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At the start of this third book in the series, informer Marcus Didius Falco is not the happiest man in Vespasian's Rome. He is sharing a cell in Lautumiae prison with a large rat, after his enemy and rival Anacrites (Vespasian's chief spy) caught him out in a "minor accounting error."

Falco's girlfriend Helena Justina, a senator's daughter, has miscarried their child. He wants to marry her, but to do so he needs to amass the large sum of 400,000 sesterces to qualify for "Equestrian" (e.g. middle class) rank. Looking for business he soon finds himself surrounded by trouble which includes a huge fish, rent racketeers, a fortune-hunting redhead, and a female contortionist who is an expert with snakes ...

Continues a series of excellent detective stories set in the first century Roman Empire and featuring the informer Marcus Didius Falco. Informers in ancient Rome were something between a private detective and a government spy.

I tried this series because I had enjoyed Ellis Peter's "Brother Cadfael" detective stories. Where Cadfael is excellent, Falco is brilliant. Ellis Peters herself (or to use her real name, the late Edith Pargeter) said of the early books of the series 'Lindsey Davis continues her exploration of Vespasian's Rome and Marcus Didius Falco's Italy with the same wit and gusto that made "The Silver Pigs" such a dazzling debut and her rueful, self-deprecating hero so irresistibly likeable.'

Funny, exciting, and based on a painstaking effort to re-create the world of 71 AD.

If you have met and enjoyed either the Cadfael series, this is to the early Roman Empire what that series was to twelfth-century England but is even better.

It isn't absolutely essential to read these stories in sequence, as the mysteries Falco is trying to solve are all self-contained stories and each can stand on its own. But there is some ongoing development of characters and relationships and I think reading them in the right order does improve the experience.

The full Falco series, in chronological order, consists at the moment of:

The Silver Pigs: (Falco 1)
Shadows in Bronze
Venus in Copper
The Iron Hand of Mars
Poseidon's Gold
Last Act in Palmyra
Time to Depart
A Dying Light in Corduba
Three Hands in the Fountain
Two for the Lions
One Virgin Too Many
Ode to a Banker
A Body in the Bath house
The Jupiter Myth
The Accusers
Scandal taks a Holiday
See Delphi and Die
Saturnalia
Alexandria
Nemesis

After "Nemesis" Lyndsey Davis appears to have decided she had done enough with the main characters of the original series, so she started a "Next Generation" follow-on for Falco's family in which his adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, picks up the torch. The first story in the successor series is

The Ides of April (Falco: The New Generation).

I have read and can warmly recommend all of these.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 September 2006
This is the third novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be and should be found in Rome in AD70, but to have a lead character who has the vocabulary of a present day New York cop. In this the third novel Falco is starting to feel like an old friend.

Falco is trying to live down the indignity of being released from jail with the help of his mother of all people and he has accepted a case from some rich private clients. He is also in the middle of trying to entice his girlfriend Helena Justina to come and live with him, though why a senator's daughter, especially one who has just lost their baby, would wish to live in the hovel he calls home is anybody's guess.

When the client Falco is supposedly protecting dies, he is immediately re-hired by none other than the chief suspect. The crux of the matter is that Falco must find and expose a woman, a fortune hunter, who has lost more husbands to accidents than it can be believed possible.

Falco has more than a little excitement during the investigation, including a brush with a female contortionist who has a very interesting snake act. He also has the tremendous honour, or otherwise of a "friendly" visit from Titus Caesar himself, right in the middle of Falco attempting to cook a huge turbot without the aid of every chef's must have, a fish kettle.
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This is the third novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be and should be found in Rome in AD70, but to have a lead character who has the vocabulary of a present day New York cop. In this the third novel Falco is starting to feel like an old friend.

Falco is trying to live down the indignity of being released from jail with the help of his mother of all people and he has accepted a case from some rich private clients. He is also in the middle of trying to entice his girlfriend Helena Justina to come and live with him, though why a senator's daughter, especially one who has just lost their baby, would wish to live in the hovel he calls home is anybody's guess.

When the client Falco is supposedly protecting dies, he is immediately re-hired by none other than the chief suspect. The crux of the matter is that Falco must find and expose a woman, a fortune hunter, who has lost more husbands to accidents than it can be believed possible.

Falco has more than a little excitement during the investigation, including a brush with a female contortionist who has a very interesting snake act. He also has the tremendous honour, or otherwise of a "friendly" visit from Titus Caesar himself, right in the middle of Falco attempting to cook a huge turbot without the aid of every chef's must have, a fish kettle.
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on 20 August 2017
all good
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