Warner, Jul 2001, 23.95, 384 pp.
In 74 AD informer Marcus Didius Falco (in modern terms this means he is a private investigator) believes he is a talented poet. After giving a reading of his works, an employee of Aurelius Chrysippus approaches Marcus to inform him that his master, banker and owner of a scriptorium, enjoys his poetry and wants to see it published. An elated Marcus arranges to meet with Aurelius.
However, his euphoria quickly ends when Falco soon learns that Aurelius expects payment for publication. Disappointed and disgusted, Falco leaves. Not long afterward, Falco learns that someone killed Aurelius shortly after their meeting. Falco is hired to find the killer, which proves arduous because the victim made so many enemies that his anti-fan club could fill the Coliseum with SRO.
The twelfth Falco Ancient Rome mystery shows how the readers how the Romans feel about Greeks, banking, and publishing. In many ways, this entry is written tongue in cheek as Lindsey Davis satirizes publishing, banking, and detectives. Thus the audience obtains an educated, humorous and well-written who-done-it that retains a freshness not all series have when they reach the twelth plateau.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner