In the long, hot Roman summer of AD 74, Falco, private informer and spare-time poet, gives a reading for his family and friends. Things get out of hand, as usual. The event is taken over by Aurelius Chrysippus, a wealthy Greek banker and patron to a group of struggling writers, who offers to publish Falco's work. A visit to the Chrysippus scriptorium implicates Falco in a gruesome literary murder, so when commissioned to investigate, Falco is forced to accept.
Lindsey Davis' twelfth novel wittily explores Roman publishing and banking, taking us from the jealousies of authorship and the mire of patronage to the darker financial world, where default can have fatal consequences.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mary Carnegie on 15-11-15
Inappropriate narrator, good story.
The reader has been badly chosen a first-person narrator representing the plebeian, ironic, canny Falco. If Christian Rodska had told this tale, I’d have chuckled out loud several times- even on second or third listenings. Griffin reads slowly and enunciates clearly, even pedantically. Perhaps the publishers thought this bland performance would be more accessible for those for whom British English is not the mother tongue. The story is good, a nod to 20th century “body in the library” whodunnits, with a Poirot style denouement but with well-researched background on publishing and banking, and casual cultural jokes, like the dubious publishing house rejecting the writings of a certain Martialis as “crap”, unmarketable.
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