Top positive review
Funny in places - informative and entertaining
on 21 May 2016
I read the first book in this series because I have long been a fan of the Falco series. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed so I am very glad that I decided to give the series another chance and read this novel which takes place very shortly after the end of the previous one. I enjoyed it more and will definitely be reading the next couple in the series.
Manlius Faustus, who we met in book one (not required reading to understand this one) asks Flavia Albia to investigate after a newlywed couple are strangled and valuable silver they own disappears. Without an investigation and the discovery of the culprits Faustus will be obliged to put the household slaves to death for not having prevented the crime even if they didn't commit it. What follows is an investigation into the crime which is interesting, the developing love story between the two main characters which is tender and life affirming, and a description of the state of slavery in Rome which is interesting and enlightening. The author is not sparing in her description of what happens to those at the bottom of society and Flavia Albia isn't going to change society as a whole. Some of the characters will come to sad and undeserved ends, and we know that this is what lies in the future for others.
Although our heroine has a witty and sarcastic narrative style this isn't really a funny book although there are moments of humour throughout. I thought that the author melded the different strands together well and if Flavia Albia is perhaps too liberated for her time she makes an engaging heroine. I enjoyed the investigation and was informed by the information about slavery and prostitution at the time but I was mostly moved by the love story - the last few pages are beautifully written.