A suspicious death and subsequent murder send Flavia Albia down a twisted path to expose corruption and betrayal in Lindsey Davis’s next historical mystery.
First century Rome is not the quiet, orderly city that it pretends to be and in this environment, a very clever private informer can thrive. Flavia Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, is a chip off the old block. She’s taken over his father’s old profession, and, like him, she occasionally lets her love of a good puzzle get in the way of her common sense. Such is the case when one such puzzle is brought to her by the very hostile ex-wife of Albia’s new husband.
It seems that over on the Quirinal Hill, a naive young girl, one Clodia Volumnia, has died, and there’s a suggestion that she was poisoned by a love potion. The local witch, Pandora, would have been the one to supply such a potion. Looking into the matter, Albia soon learns that Pandora carries on a trade in herbal beauty products while keeping hidden her much more dangerous connections.
Albia soon discovers the young girl was a handful and her so-called friends were not as friendly as they should have been. The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal hides the smells of loose morality, casual betrayal, and even gangland conflict. When a friend of her own is murdered, things become serious and Albia is determined to expose as much of this local sickness as she can—beginning with the truth about the death of little Clodia.
I thought this book was the first in the series. Once again, I need to learn to do my research before reading books. This is actually number six in the series. Though with reading between the lines you get enough of the back story that it did not matter that this was number six and not number one. I had no problems picking it up and reading without knowing what books one through five were about.
The was a very clever story line with a wonderful plot and characters. Though I do admit that I do not know much about Roman history during this time but I feel a woman private informer is a bit of a reach but I could be wrong. I enjoyed the boldness of Flavia Albia and how she did not let anything stop her from solving the mystery. Though I do think her husband is a bit of a loose minded person. Again this is my opinion of this book if I had known more of the back story I may understand why her husband acts the way he acts.
This basically is a story of a teenager’s group out gone bad. Flavia Albia has to sort though the teenager’s stories and their standing up for their friends stories. To which she does solve the case and no I will not tell you the end of the story here. The book is worth the read and I do suggest you read it, but like always with any series, I suggest reading them in order.
I received this book from Net Galley for this review.