First of a new series of crime novels set in Ancient Rome and featuring Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of much-loved Marcus Didius Falco.
Based on real historical events: mysterious poisonings, in which victims died, often unaware they had been attacked. Albia is now 28 and an established female investigator. Her personal history and her British birth enable her to view Roman society and its traditions as a bemused outsider and also as a woman struggling for independence in a man’s world.
The first novel takes place on the plebeian Aventine Hill, with its mix of monumental temples, muddy back lanes and horrible snack bars. We meet Albia’s personal circle – some familiar, some new. We glimpse old haunts and hear of old friends, but the focus is on Albia herself, a tough, witty, winning personality who fearlessly tackles inhumanity and injustice, braving any risks and winning the friendship of unexpected allies.
“They had about four daytime regulars, of whom two were occasional and one could only come if his son was not using the false leg that day. Assume I’m joking, if that comforts you.” Chosen by Linda Geldart