Undeterred by his previous disasters, Falco gives a poetry reading: an illustrious audience, a spectacular locale – and a tedious patron of the arts who subsequently becomes the Body in the Library. Brought in by Petronius, Falco tangles with unscrupulous bankers, publishers and authors (actual and would-be), despising all of them and trusting none. Once again the vigiles watch and wait for him to fail.
Meanwhile, Pa is in trouble, Ma is the subject of unseemly gossip, Maia is restless, the dog is pregnant, Gloccus and Cotta have yet to finish their bath-house contract, and Anacrites is hovering dangerously, trying to move in on the family in several worrying ways. As the enforcers gather to encourage suicides and the writers’ group twitters hopelessly in the Temple of Minerva, the summer heat rises while Rome echoes to the sound of commercial institutions crashing and needy authors being dropped after failing to meet deadlines. The safest ploy is to stay at home reading a good book. But are there any to be had, when heartless commercialism governs editorial decisions, and anyway the most promising scrolls are covered with blood?
Who ate the flan? Where is the other evidence? And will Falco be able to assemble all the suspects for a showdown in the Greek Library, then force the killer to come clean so he wins a confession bonus from the penny-pinching vigiles?
Research Note: the one where Shakespeare comments on The Spook Who Spoke.
‘Lindsey Davis’s novels about the Roman informer Falco have always been ingenious in the way she sets up impeccably researched Imperial Roman equivalents of modern worlds and modern crimes… This is as elegantly picturesque in its portrait of the Emperor Vespasian’s crowded metropolis as Davis has ever been – and the soap opera of Falco’s disreputable family continues apace.’ – The Birmingham Mail
‘Ode To A Banker is the 12th and arguably most elegant of the novels featuring Roman sleuth, Marcus Didius Falco. An innocent poetry reading in a spectacular location turns into a murder investigation as Falco is faced with a body in the library. His meticulous investigation leads him into the worlds of publishing and banking–worlds in which he despises everyone and trusts no one. Publishers ruthlessly dump their authors and commercial institutions crash as Rome swelters in the heat of the summer. Meanwhile, Falco’s family have multifarious problems of their own. “Ode To A Banker” is a highly entertaining, impeccably well-researched novel from award-winning Lindsey Davis.’ – Amazon.co.uk
‘I stopped smiling. Poetry? Nobody asked an informer about his intellectual life. Rutilius must be really desperate.’
Chosen by readers, Rosina and George Harter