The Graveyard of the Hesperides

PLOT SUMMARY: Albia novel 4

Manlius Faustus decides it is time he had a proper job, which Flavia Albia can only applaud. When he goes into the family business and starts renovating a bar, it can only be a matter of time (for this is a crime novel) before bodies start turning up. Does every low dive in ancient Rome have a longtime missing barmaid? Not to mention other buried bones that are destined to hold up the aedile’s project – bones that were clearly not put there by the landlord’s dog. Helped and hindered by members of the vigiles, Albia braces herself for a week of fast food among even faster bar staff, as she tackles the difficult task of solving a decade-old murder, not to mention learning what happened to that dog.

She is less delighted by her lover’s second idea: that to demonstrate their happy union publicly they should have a formal wedding. Her teenaged sisters think it a brilliant wheeze. Julia and Favonia throw themselves into planning the event regardless of cost and propriety, even bringing back Genius, the cook who can’t cook. For Albia it is a race against time to solve her case before she has to set aside her disgruntlement and put on the saffron veil like a happy bride. Meanwhile everyone is unaware of just how electrifying the gods will make this ceremony…

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Reviews

There is plenty of drama and danger, which spill right over into the nuptial celebrations, but there is also a hearty helping of Davis’ well-placed humor. She continues to take us out onto the streets and into the alleyways of a Rome so unlike the pristine marble metropolis of romantic imagining. We follow Flavia, a strong yet vulnerable female protagonist, into a “victimarium” and the aptly named Mucky Mule Mews. Juno! Recommended for all fans of humorous mysteries and crime set in antiquity. —Booklist starred review

In true Lindsey Davis fashion, Rome also comes to vivid life as a deeply problematic city, one whose troubles are reflected in our own world 2,000 years later. The author’s skill at bringing the Eternal City to life is unparalleled, bringing readers to tears at the fates of secondary characters as she guides them through the dung-ridden streets of the Subura to the local snack shops and bars. Albia is a truly relatable heroine, one who openly contemplates her difficult past and how it affects her current relationships. Longtime Falco fans will rejoice at Albia’s character development, which has progressed across a dozen books. She’s now fully ready to create the life she’s always dreamed about, and Manlius is just as much of a complement to Albia as Falco’s senatorial bride, Helena Justina, was to him. Once again, Davis has meticulously plotted out her lead character’s growth book by book, and THE GRAVEYARD OF THE HESPERIDES is the culmination of that process. Here’s to Flavia Albia and many more adventures! Bookreporter