My challenge here was to write a book set in ancient Egypt that would have no pharaohs, few pyramids, no respect for sacred cats, hardly any details of mummification rites, no duck hunts on the Nile, no peasants, no shadoufs and no Archimedes’ screws.
Mission accomplished: Falco, Helena and their immediate family, including Aulus, go to Roman Egypt to see more of the Seven Wonders of the World. Uncle Fulvius and Cassius, later joined by Pa, are up to some pensioners’ scam, getting in the way, while Falco looks into high academic culture at the Great Library. This is home to all the knowledge of the world – though when the corpses start appearing in the customary odd circumstances, it takes more than great minds to understand Who Did It. The academic world festers while management dithers, diplomats dose, undertakers fib and businessmen diddle. The Pharos is shrouded in mist and the Pyramids lost in a sandstorm. A sinister wind blows up out of the desert, adding to the hot air even before the arsonist sets things alight. Fortunately a mad inventor is on hand – and Falco just happens to know how his most useful invention works…
This is the one with the crocodile.
Most of the regular cast feature in ALEXANDRIA and there are a few new grotesques thrown in for good measure, but above all you get Davis’ crafty eye for human relationships. She also proves sharply observant of the wiles of academia, with lovely references to university in-fighting in committee meetings and 1st Century students cunningly plagiarising their essays from the piles of ancient scrolls in the famous library!- Mike Ripley, SHOTS
‘One of the best entries in an outstanding series,’ – Alison Block, Booklist
‘Who knew that the race for a top library spot could be so intriguing? The mystery is intricately plotted, the characters are well-drawn, and Falco is as engaging a protagonist as ever, still tough, but wiser and more reflective too. Another winner for historical mystery fans’ – Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
‘A fantastic historical whodunit’ – Daily Express
‘an especially captivating entry in the mystery series’ – Wall Street Journal
‘I told Heron that when he tired of academic life, there would be a job for him as an informer. The great man had the courtesy to say he did not have the brains for it.’
Chosen by Laura Fry