Mysterious, Apr 2004, 25.00
In 75 AD, Roman Informant Marcus Didius Falco, his wife Helena, their two perfect children and Nux the mutt (who like the humans treat Falco like a dumb pet) return home after spending time in Londinium (see THE JUPITER MYTH). The trip leaves Falco broke so though he is normally a very principled informant he reluctantly accepts as clients two shyster lawyers Paccius Africanus and Silius Italicus though he detests doing so. They hire him to find evidence on whether wealthy senator Rubirius Metellus peddled appointments.
Falco's work leads to the conviction of the arrogant Metellus', but not long afterward, the odious politician is poisoned; officialdom rules death by suicide. Fearing loss of income and subsequent lifestyle due to the tricky quirky inheritance laws, Metellus' family hires Falco to make inquiries into his death. However, Falco soon finds a legion of individuals including his new clients and their servants with strong motives to kill the malicious Metellus.
The private investigation takes a back seat to a witty look at Ancient Rome as readers gain much insight (especially when compared with visiting Brit Albia) into the Falco family and the Metellus household. Falco is a fine tour guide who takes readers on quite a trek around Rome not always the tourist sights while solving the mystery of Metellus' abuse of power followed by finding the killer. Fans will appreciate this insightful historical mystery that retains the series trade mark fresh look at the first century.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner