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Three Hands in the Fountain

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In vino, veritas. But in the water supply of Rome, horroras Marcus Didius Falco is about to find out. Sharing an ewer of Spanish red with his old friend and new partner Petronius Longus, Falco is on the spot when a man cleaning the local fountain makes a gruesome discovery: a human hand. Small and evidently female, the hand suggests its owner met a terrifying fate. Natural In vino, veritas. But in the water supply of Rome, horroras Marcus Didius Falco is about to find out. Sharing an ewer of Spanish red with his old friend and new partner Petronius Longus, Falco is on the spot when a man cleaning the local fountain makes a gruesome discovery: a human hand. Small and evidently female, the hand suggests its owner met a terrifying fate. Naturally, Falco and Petro, formerly of the Vigiles, want to seize on it as their first big case. The officials of Rome, however, prefer to hush up the incident, since a population that riots at the drop of a toga might run wild if body parts are polluting their drinking water. Soon other delicate, dismembered hands are being found in Rome's two hundred miles of aqueduct. Now aided, inspired, and given critical clues by his wife, Helena, Falco & Partner are ready to buck the status quo and even butt heads with Falco's old boss, Chief Spy Anacrites, to crack the case. But O, Hades! The duo suspects a serial killer is at large, linked topublic festivals, and likely to strike again at the upcoming Roman Games. Even a detective as astute as Falco may not spot a twisted mind in a crowd of 250,000. And if Falco loses this race with time, another pretty victim will make a deadly splash...


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In vino, veritas. But in the water supply of Rome, horroras Marcus Didius Falco is about to find out. Sharing an ewer of Spanish red with his old friend and new partner Petronius Longus, Falco is on the spot when a man cleaning the local fountain makes a gruesome discovery: a human hand. Small and evidently female, the hand suggests its owner met a terrifying fate. Natural In vino, veritas. But in the water supply of Rome, horroras Marcus Didius Falco is about to find out. Sharing an ewer of Spanish red with his old friend and new partner Petronius Longus, Falco is on the spot when a man cleaning the local fountain makes a gruesome discovery: a human hand. Small and evidently female, the hand suggests its owner met a terrifying fate. Naturally, Falco and Petro, formerly of the Vigiles, want to seize on it as their first big case. The officials of Rome, however, prefer to hush up the incident, since a population that riots at the drop of a toga might run wild if body parts are polluting their drinking water. Soon other delicate, dismembered hands are being found in Rome's two hundred miles of aqueduct. Now aided, inspired, and given critical clues by his wife, Helena, Falco & Partner are ready to buck the status quo and even butt heads with Falco's old boss, Chief Spy Anacrites, to crack the case. But O, Hades! The duo suspects a serial killer is at large, linked topublic festivals, and likely to strike again at the upcoming Roman Games. Even a detective as astute as Falco may not spot a twisted mind in a crowd of 250,000. And if Falco loses this race with time, another pretty victim will make a deadly splash...

30 review for Three Hands in the Fountain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    A murderer with the grisly habit of chopping his victims to pieces. Hands have been found the public aqueducts and bodies in the sewers. Falco must stop the killer before he kills again A detective story set in ancient Rome. Falco lives in the city of Rome, but not in the best part. . . Tailors' Lane was a typical Aventine scene. Faceless tenement blocks loomed above a filthy, one-cart lane that meandered up here from the Emporium down by the Tiber, trying to find the way to the Temple of Ceres, only A murderer with the grisly habit of chopping his victims to pieces. Hands have been found the public aqueducts and bodies in the sewers. Falco must stop the killer before he kills again A detective story set in ancient Rome. Falco lives in the city of Rome, but not in the best part. . . Tailors' Lane was a typical Aventine scene. Faceless tenement blocks loomed above a filthy, one-cart lane that meandered up here from the Emporium down by the Tiber, trying to find the way to the Temple of Ceres, only to lose itself somewhere on the steep heights above the Probus Bridge. Little near-naked children crouched playing with stones beside a dubious puddle, catching whatever fever was rampant this summer. Somewhere overhead a voice droned endlessly, telling some dreary story to a silent listener who might be driven to run mad with a meat-knife any minute now. We were in deep shade, though aware that wherever the sun could find access the August heat was shimmering. Even here our tunics stuck to our backs. Armed with all the identification papers Falco and Helena go the Censor's clerk to get their daughter Julia Junilla Laeitana certificate of citizenship. There was an obvious cause for our problem today. Public slaves receive no official stipend for their duties. Naturally I had come equipped with the usual ex gratia offering, but the clerk thought that if he made things look difficult he could garner a more spectacular tip than usual. The hour's argument was needed to persuade him that I had no more money.     He started weakening. Julia then remembered she wanted to be fed, so she screwed up her little eyes and screamed as if she were practising for when she grew up and wanted to go to parties that I disapproved of. She received her certificate without further delay. A recent clue The third hand was swollen, but undamaged. Julius Frontinus unwrapped and presented it without drama, placing it in our dish like an organ removed by a surgeon. The first two relics had been dark with decay. This hand was black because its owner had been black. She must have come from Mauretania or Africa. The fine skin on the back of her hand was ebony, the palm and fingertips much lighter. The cuticles had been kept manicured, the nails neatly trimmed.     It looked a young hand. The fingers, all still present, would recently have been as fine and slender as those of Helena's which had just now so urgently tapped my wrist. This was a left hand. Trapped in the swollen flesh of the fourth finger was a plain gold wedding ring. Bureaucrats never take responsibility or give a straight answer Although we were allowed to interrogate an engineer, the Curator of Aqueducts had had the choice of which to send. The man he imposed on us was called Statius, and we could tell he would be a nincompoop by the size of his back-up team: he brought a couple of slaves with note tablets (to record what he said so he could check it minutely afterwards and send us corrections if he had inadvertently been too frank), a satchel-carrier, an assistant, and the assistant's chubby clerk. Not to mention the litter-bearers and the armed guard with cudgels he had left outside. In theory he was here to contribute expert knowledge, but he behaved as if he had been summonsed on a full-blown corruption charge. Frontinus asked the first question, and it was typically direct: 'Do you have a map of the water system?'     'I believe a locational diagram of the substrata and super-strata conduits may exist.'     Petronius caught my eye. His favourite: a man who called a spade a soil redistribution implement.     'Can you supply a copy?'     'Such classified information is not generally available -' Slowly using police leg-work a modus operandi is detailed and a possible area searched. But still the killer manages to snatch another victim - could she be Falco's sister-in-law? The last chapters have a fast mule chase and a stand-up knock-down fight! Enjoy!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Dickison

    Another good entry into the Falco series. In this one Marcus and Petronius must track down a serial killer who is disposing of body parts by throwing them in the aqueduct system. Humor continues to abound, but be warned, Helena plays a lesser (but wiser) role in this one. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    'Three Hands in the Fountain' is kind of a fun serial killer thriller. Yes, yes, I know. That is all sorts of wrong! Detective Marcus Didius Falco is on his next case in 73 AD Rome after a rotting hand is found blocking a fountain's pipe. At first, Falco and his new temporary partner, L. Petronius Longus, do not know whether the hand is from a body which has been murdered, but an examination of the cut shows the hand was sawed off from the arm. It is very disturbing, but so much else is going on 'Three Hands in the Fountain' is kind of a fun serial killer thriller. Yes, yes, I know. That is all sorts of wrong! Detective Marcus Didius Falco is on his next case in 73 AD Rome after a rotting hand is found blocking a fountain's pipe. At first, Falco and his new temporary partner, L. Petronius Longus, do not know whether the hand is from a body which has been murdered, but an examination of the cut shows the hand was sawed off from the arm. It is very disturbing, but so much else is going on in the inner circle of Falco's family and friends he cannot concentrate on the hand as much as happens in most mysteries, which is where the fun comes in. I must emphasize this mystery series is a deeply researched historical novel which includes a lot of details about ancient Rome, and its strongest story element is a humorous family drama which is continued from book to book in the series. Oh, Falco and his friends and family periodically end up in fights for their lives, but so far, most of the nice characters survive and the bad guys don't. Falco has a new baby and a new dog and a new apartment besides a new business partner. Although Falco never married Helena Justina (so far - its complicated), having the baby has finally reconciled Helena's mother to their relationship, but one of Helena's brothers is still seeing Falco as if he were a rotting fish head. Petronius is Falco's best friend, but he is not a good business partner. Falco doesn't have the heart to tell his friend to get lost, mostly because his friend has lost his job and his wife(view spoiler)[ because Petro has become infatuated with a married woman who is part of a criminal mafia-style family. Falco is hoping to get Petro away from the floozy and back with his wife and three daughters and reinstated as a Roman police officer. (hide spoiler)] Falco's mother has sort of adopted another man as a son, having nursed him back to health at Falco's suggestion, but Falco actually hates him due to an ongoing antagonistic relationship (previous books). I strongly suggest starting with book one:

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    Read this book in 2013, and this is the 9th volume of the marvellous Marcus Didius Falco series. Once more set in Rome, Falco has now found a new partner for solving cases of crime, being his best friend, Petronius. When they find their local fountain blocked by a gruesomely severed human hand they immediately start to investigate. What is common knowledge is that body parts have been found for years and always during public festivals. With the Roman Games being imminent and afraid for a repeat of m Read this book in 2013, and this is the 9th volume of the marvellous Marcus Didius Falco series. Once more set in Rome, Falco has now found a new partner for solving cases of crime, being his best friend, Petronius. When they find their local fountain blocked by a gruesomely severed human hand they immediately start to investigate. What is common knowledge is that body parts have been found for years and always during public festivals. With the Roman Games being imminent and afraid for a repeat of more mutilations and killings, Falco with the help from Petronius, sets out on a search of 200 miles of aquaduct and the crowded streets to try to trap the killer before the sadist strikes again. In an exciting and gripping fashion Falco and Petronius, after some twists and turns followed by a thrilling plot will be able to catch the culprit, and bring that coldblooded individual to justice. Highly recommended, for this is a magnificent Roman mystery with plenty of suspense and wit, ingredients that make this series so fantastic as a whole, and what this episode is concerned I like to call it: "A Terrific Roman Mystery Of Too Many Hands"!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Assaph Mehr

    Three Hands in the Fountain starts when Falco makes a gruesome find, and continues in a page-turning, plot-twisting chase after a serial killer. As usual for a Davis novel, the reseach into life in 1st-century ancient Rome shines through. In particular, Falco gets to meet and work with Frontinus on this case - Frontinus being a real person. The events are early in Frontinus' career, before his rise to fame. Davis builds this case as what sparks Frontinus' interest in aqueducts. He was appinted s Three Hands in the Fountain starts when Falco makes a gruesome find, and continues in a page-turning, plot-twisting chase after a serial killer. As usual for a Davis novel, the reseach into life in 1st-century ancient Rome shines through. In particular, Falco gets to meet and work with Frontinus on this case - Frontinus being a real person. The events are early in Frontinus' career, before his rise to fame. Davis builds this case as what sparks Frontinus' interest in aqueducts. He was appinted some 20 years later to write a report to Nerva about Rome's water supply. His two-volume report survives to this day and gives us much of what we know about Roman aqueducts - and this carries through back into Davis' historical mystery Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps - certainly so far into the series. -- Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia: A story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic - for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Lindsey Davis has hit her stride in this novel. She has mastered the all the tools of narrative to turn out a first rate mystery novel. The situation is this. A serial killer is snatching women, and chopping them into bits for disposal (after who knows what degradations). Some of the bits end up in the water supply, hence the title. It was truly fascinating to learn how the Roman aqueducts worked, and the details of their construction and maintenance. Davis is a master at presenting a sense of wh Lindsey Davis has hit her stride in this novel. She has mastered the all the tools of narrative to turn out a first rate mystery novel. The situation is this. A serial killer is snatching women, and chopping them into bits for disposal (after who knows what degradations). Some of the bits end up in the water supply, hence the title. It was truly fascinating to learn how the Roman aqueducts worked, and the details of their construction and maintenance. Davis is a master at presenting a sense of what it must have been like to live in Rome at that time. More than that, Davis is a master mystery writer. There are twists of plot. There are red herrings and clues that the casual reader would let slip by. The book ends with a desperate chase, and a surprise at the end. It is very, very satisfying.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Writerlibrarian

    This is Davis' try at a serial killer plot in 70 AD Rome. The plot is predictable but everything that surrounds the action such as it is is wonderful. The depth of research and how Davis was able to show how the water was transported in Rome, how the police forces worked is wonderful. This one also sets up a new arc in the series as who works with Marcus Didius. Entertaining, light but not in a bad way. This is Davis' try at a serial killer plot in 70 AD Rome. The plot is predictable but everything that surrounds the action such as it is is wonderful. The depth of research and how Davis was able to show how the water was transported in Rome, how the police forces worked is wonderful. This one also sets up a new arc in the series as who works with Marcus Didius. Entertaining, light but not in a bad way.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    No spoilers but the novel ends in a mixture of suspense, humour and irony. We learn a great deal,too, about Roman waterworks!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Judith Johnson

    Loved this one = I find the ones set in Rome are the liveliest, though Silver Pigs is also a favourite! As ever, aside from the private eye narrative, I learnt something new about Roman history and social mores - double value. Now planning to have some fun re-reading the Asterix books for the first time in decades, prompted by the death of translator Anthea Bell - a Roman dessert after this enjoyable main course delight!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Somehow, I have been drawn to this series of mysteries from the moment I first discovered Marcus Didio Falco. Set in Imperial Rome during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, Falco is an “informer,” a freelance investigator/spy, who often serves the emperor himself. Yet, the key, almost like a superhero’s secret identity, is that Falco is a specialist in sensitive investigations. So, like the tough private eyes in the works of Chandler and Hammett who sometimes have to avoid both the police and t Somehow, I have been drawn to this series of mysteries from the moment I first discovered Marcus Didio Falco. Set in Imperial Rome during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, Falco is an “informer,” a freelance investigator/spy, who often serves the emperor himself. Yet, the key, almost like a superhero’s secret identity, is that Falco is a specialist in sensitive investigations. So, like the tough private eyes in the works of Chandler and Hammett who sometimes have to avoid both the police and the denizens of the underworld, Falco’s investigations are often temporarily thwarted and thrown into chaos by the work of the vigils or Vespasian’s erstwhile chief spy, Anacrites. And, like those private eyes of the early 20th century, Falco’s only payment is sometimes the realization that he has done the right thing. Of course, there are two factors (among others) that keep pulling me back to this series. One factor is that the historical detail is delicious—well, delicious in terms of lavish and intriguing description. In the case of Three Hands in the Fountain, the discoveries of decomposing body parts is, in no sense, delicious. On the other, pardon the expression, hand, the detailed descriptions of the aqueduct system and the way said system plays into the mystery is delightful. Don’t get me wrong, though, you may experience your gag reflex a couple of times if you can imagine as well as I can the body parts swollen, infested, and stinking as they are pulled from the water at various points in the novel. I also appreciated the descriptions of the public games in this particular novel. The history is there for those who want it. The material on the aqueducts is particularly relevant because, as the title implies, Falco (along with Petronius in this one), is attempting to solve the mystery of body parts arriving in Roman fountains and clogging up the water supply. There are too many possibilities to tie down one suspect, but that’s exactly what has to happen during two of Rome’s busiest seasons for the “games.” The second factor that keeps me returning to this series is the humor. In this episode, I particularly liked the following exchanges: “Frontinus asked the first question, and it was typically direct: ‘Do you have a map of the water system?’ ‘I believe a locational diagram of the substrata and superstrata conduits may exist.’ Petronius caught my eye. His favorite: a man who called a spade a soil redistribution implement.” (p. 127) “He’s been laid up by the criminal world’s society for the preservation of marriages—a smart group of lads with strict moral consciences who see themselves as the thunderbolt of Jupiter.” (p. 253) Translation: a fellow was beaten up by street thugs as a result of his wife’s anger concerning an extra-marital affair. The mystery in this episode was far from transparent. Once Falco is on the trail, it ends all too abruptly and is a bit of an anticlimax. I’m a huge fan of the series, but the ending left a taste of lukewarm water in my mouth. Hence, I only rate it average instead of the 4 stars in which it started out IMHO.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    In Three Hands in the Fountain, Marcus returns to Rome to find out that his longtime friend Petronius Longus has been thrown out of his home–his affair with Balbina Milvia (daughter of the mob boss our boys tracked down in Time to Depart) has become public knowledge and Arria Silvia can endure the humiliation no longer. As painful as this domestic situation is, there are even more horrific doings afoot in the capital of the world. Human body parts–hands, feet, heads–have been showing up in the w In Three Hands in the Fountain, Marcus returns to Rome to find out that his longtime friend Petronius Longus has been thrown out of his home–his affair with Balbina Milvia (daughter of the mob boss our boys tracked down in Time to Depart) has become public knowledge and Arria Silvia can endure the humiliation no longer. As painful as this domestic situation is, there are even more horrific doings afoot in the capital of the world. Human body parts–hands, feet, heads–have been showing up in the water supply all around the city, and the mutilated torsos that belong to these appendages are drifting down the Tiber. These “festival fancies”, as Marcus’ crass brother-in-law Lollius terms them, only show up during and around the time of the games (spectacles of gladiator fights and chariot racing that occur approximately three times a year). As he investigates, Marcus discovers that these festival fancies have been appearing for years. He is dealing with a maniacal serial killer, one who preys on pretty young women in public places. When Claudia Rufina, the Baetican heiress betrothed to Helena Justina’s brother Aelianus, vanishes, the quest for the killer becomes personal. Can Marcus find the killer before he does away with Claudia? In Three Hands in the Fountain, Lindsey Davis provides a brilliant description of the Roman water supply, the interconnectedness of the aqueducts, and their sources up in the hills outside the city. She also hits just the right note in describing the Roman enthusiasm for sport. Marcus standing up in the chariot arena screaming for the Blues (while Helena Justina rolls her eyes and adjusts his seat cushion), is the perfect parallel to the modern football enthusiast and his longsuffering wife. This book–with its serial killer suspense–was one of the most exciting Falco novels in the whole set. Hard to put down, indeed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Rome had water - fountains in every court with water brought from the distant hills in aqueducts that were carefully staged to keep the flow steady. There were tanks to allow pebbles and other things to settle out of the flow and maintenance crews went through the whole system scraping away the deposits which could plug the channels. All of this is fine until Falco and Petronius are leaning against the Fountain Court fountain (dry) when a worker comes along to poke into it and restore the water. Rome had water - fountains in every court with water brought from the distant hills in aqueducts that were carefully staged to keep the flow steady. There were tanks to allow pebbles and other things to settle out of the flow and maintenance crews went through the whole system scraping away the deposits which could plug the channels. All of this is fine until Falco and Petronius are leaning against the Fountain Court fountain (dry) when a worker comes along to poke into it and restore the water. The item which had blocked the pipe turns out to be a severed human hand. The thought of pieces of flesh passing through the water system is totally revolting and Falco and Petronius, who is laid off from his vigiles job because he's involved with a pretty young matron, are called on to investigate the problem along with ex consul S. Julius Frontinus (soldier, magistrate, administrator, and author and I've never heard of him) after a second hand is found and a torso turns up in the river. Of course we have to deal with Falco's family and his wife Helena's family as well. We follow the games at the Circus Maximus because there seems to be a connection between body parts and festivals so they go out into the Campagna to look at the water sources. We meet a Water Board engineer who demonstrates the operation of the system and visit some high class country estates. Davis' stories are tremendous fun and easy to follow even when we're deep in Roman customs. The only quibble I have is that there are times when I could imagine we were in modern Britain rather than ancient Rome, but I'd rather that than have people orating all over like Cicero at an important trial.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    As I make my way thru the Falco series I am continually enchanted. Helena and Falco have returned to Rome from their trip to Spain which ended with the birth of their daughter Julia Junilla. As usual Falco is in need of work and it turns out his friend Petro, usually the steady, employed one needs a job as well. Much against Falco's first wish, Petro becomes his partner and also as usual a mystery comes to them (a mystery without a paying customer!). This mystery involves body parts showing up As I make my way thru the Falco series I am continually enchanted. Helena and Falco have returned to Rome from their trip to Spain which ended with the birth of their daughter Julia Junilla. As usual Falco is in need of work and it turns out his friend Petro, usually the steady, employed one needs a job as well. Much against Falco's first wish, Petro becomes his partner and also as usual a mystery comes to them (a mystery without a paying customer!). This mystery involves body parts showing up in the public water supply and it turns out that this has been happening for a long time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    A gruesome tale of body parts found in the aqueducts of Rome. Falco and associates spend a lot of time searching for the serial killer who seems to abduct young women during the festival/games and take them elsewhere to mutilate and kill them.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    Another rollicking adventure featuring the irrepressible Roman informer, Marcus Didius Falco, and expertly read by Christian Rodska. Both humorous and intriguing, it's a great listen. Another rollicking adventure featuring the irrepressible Roman informer, Marcus Didius Falco, and expertly read by Christian Rodska. Both humorous and intriguing, it's a great listen.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This was the best Falco book in the series so far! Immense enjoyment from the usual historical information plus a hunt for a serial killer that was fast paced and intriguing!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gabriele

    Another enjoyable Falco Tale Another fabulous romp through ancient Rome (& it's surrounding countryside) by an excellent story teller, filled with wonderful characters and historical details. Another enjoyable Falco Tale Another fabulous romp through ancient Rome (& it's surrounding countryside) by an excellent story teller, filled with wonderful characters and historical details.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Murphy

    4.5 🌟 This is a top-shelf episode in the life of Marcus Didius Falco!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josephine (Jo)

    I really enjoyed the Marcu Didius Falco novel. Lindsey Davis obviously has a vast knowledge of ancient Rome with her descriptions of all the water systems and their layout. She paints such a vivid picture of the different Circus venues and the streets that lead off them that you have a mental image of where you are at any particular time. I particularly like the detail given to the minutiae of the general lives of the ordinary people, this tells us more about life in the first century AD than mu I really enjoyed the Marcu Didius Falco novel. Lindsey Davis obviously has a vast knowledge of ancient Rome with her descriptions of all the water systems and their layout. She paints such a vivid picture of the different Circus venues and the streets that lead off them that you have a mental image of where you are at any particular time. I particularly like the detail given to the minutiae of the general lives of the ordinary people, this tells us more about life in the first century AD than much of what we read in official history books. Falco and his friend Petronius do have a somewhat unconventional approach to crime-solving and they could be accused of being a little unethical in their means of gathering information but the end result is what counts (isn't it)? They do have a great sense of humour and comradery even whilst they squabble and deal with various family crises. I must say that I am at present not drinking water straight from the tap, just a temporary thing until I get over reading this book. I am sure I will get over my mental picture of what could contaminate the water in Roman times even with their sophisticated reservoir system!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Matthews

    Falco and his good friend Petro find a decaying hand in the local fountain and stumble into solving a good ol' fashioned mystery. Three Hands in the Fountain is a return to what I like best in the Falco series--street characters and action set in the city of Rome with a misogynistic serial killer on the loose who has to be found before he kills again. Falco discovering bits of women's bodies in the aqueducts and trying to work out the psyche of the killer gives the story a rather modern flair. A Falco and his good friend Petro find a decaying hand in the local fountain and stumble into solving a good ol' fashioned mystery. Three Hands in the Fountain is a return to what I like best in the Falco series--street characters and action set in the city of Rome with a misogynistic serial killer on the loose who has to be found before he kills again. Falco discovering bits of women's bodies in the aqueducts and trying to work out the psyche of the killer gives the story a rather modern flair. About the only thing that slow the story's pacing are long descriptions of the Roman water supply system itself. (Agreed it was quite an achievement, but can we stick with the characters and their emotions a bit longer, please? I'm not a civil engineer!) Helena Justina makes only token appearances and one hopes her role increases in later stories as their child grows up. Still, Three Hands in the Fountain is an enjoyable read for fans of the series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    When Falco and Helena return to Rome with their brand-new daughter Julia Junius they discover that Petro has been suspended from his job, and thrown out of his house by his wife. Anacrites is recuperating at Falco's mother's home. Severed hands begin to show up in Rome's public fountains. Falco and Petro go into partnership as detectives, and with the help of an ex-consul Justinius Frontinus, they set out to find the villain responsible for the kidnapping, murder, and disembodiment of fair young When Falco and Helena return to Rome with their brand-new daughter Julia Junius they discover that Petro has been suspended from his job, and thrown out of his house by his wife. Anacrites is recuperating at Falco's mother's home. Severed hands begin to show up in Rome's public fountains. Falco and Petro go into partnership as detectives, and with the help of an ex-consul Justinius Frontinus, they set out to find the villain responsible for the kidnapping, murder, and disembodiment of fair young maidens. Despite the hideous crime, this is a much more mellow book. Everyone seems to have accepted Helena and Falco's relationship, including Helena's older righteous brother. And even Helena and Falco seem to have their relationship on a very even keel. I really enjoyed this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Simon Binning

    I am a real fan of this series, but this episode didn't really work for me. As always, there are one or two over-arcing storylines about the lives of the main characters, and these continue to keep your interest. But the actual main plot of this one was a bit weak. The discovery of body-parts in the city's water courses leads to an investigation into a possible long-time serial killer. The problems of the main protagonists seem to overshadow this story for too much of the book, and the occasiona I am a real fan of this series, but this episode didn't really work for me. As always, there are one or two over-arcing storylines about the lives of the main characters, and these continue to keep your interest. But the actual main plot of this one was a bit weak. The discovery of body-parts in the city's water courses leads to an investigation into a possible long-time serial killer. The problems of the main protagonists seem to overshadow this story for too much of the book, and the occasional appearances of one or two old adversaries adds nothing to the tale, indeed to me seemed oddly out of place. However, I shall continue the series, and hope the next episode is as good as previous ones.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I have been really enjoying the Marcus Didius Falco series from Lindsey Davis. For anyone interested in this period of history (1st Century AD Rome) or detective novels in general, I highly recommend them. From October to February I have read the first 9 books of this 20 book series, one right after the other, pausing only to hop on Amazon and download the next one. But now will stop because inexplicably book 10 and on are not available for the Kindle. Audible yes. Hardback yes. Kindle no. What I have been really enjoying the Marcus Didius Falco series from Lindsey Davis. For anyone interested in this period of history (1st Century AD Rome) or detective novels in general, I highly recommend them. From October to February I have read the first 9 books of this 20 book series, one right after the other, pausing only to hop on Amazon and download the next one. But now will stop because inexplicably book 10 and on are not available for the Kindle. Audible yes. Hardback yes. Kindle no. What gives Lindsey Davis?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    Another entertaining Marcus Didius Falco mystery, even though I don't much like reading about serial killers. I prefer to be entertained by murder for profit, revenge, etc., rather than random perverted craziness. This entry in the saga has Falco exploring the Roman aqueducts, which was very interesting. It was a nice touch to include Sextus Julius Frontinus in the adventure - a distinguished Roman statesman who will go on to write a celebrated book about the aqueducts. Another entertaining Marcus Didius Falco mystery, even though I don't much like reading about serial killers. I prefer to be entertained by murder for profit, revenge, etc., rather than random perverted craziness. This entry in the saga has Falco exploring the Roman aqueducts, which was very interesting. It was a nice touch to include Sextus Julius Frontinus in the adventure - a distinguished Roman statesman who will go on to write a celebrated book about the aqueducts.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wide Eyes, Big Ears!

    Severed body parts keep blocking up the fountains in Ancient Rome. Falco mixes with low lifes, toffs, and aqueduct maintenance staff to try and find the serial killer. This time he is in partnership with disgraced vigile, Petronius Longus - luckily Falco already has a bad reputation! This series always provides wonderful insights into life in Ancient Rome as well as lovely humour as we view the world through Falco’s jaded eyes!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Burton

    The one with the aqueduct obsessed serial killer. This is also the one where the author, dedicated to her research descended into the Cloaca Maxima aqueduct in Rome which is still used as a storm drain. The Cloaca Maxima has since been decreed to dangerous to enter.... What writers do for their work eh?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    This time around it's time for a more traditional crime investigation - Falco and Petronius need to find a serial killer. May sound a bit 'vanila', but this is a predator hunt in a much different enviroment than your run of the mill 'CSI' episode. Add to the mix the wonderfull writing style of Lindsey Davis and you have an instant bestseller. This time around it's time for a more traditional crime investigation - Falco and Petronius need to find a serial killer. May sound a bit 'vanila', but this is a predator hunt in a much different enviroment than your run of the mill 'CSI' episode. Add to the mix the wonderfull writing style of Lindsey Davis and you have an instant bestseller.

  28. 4 out of 5

    M.R.

    This time, Marcus Didius and Petro are up to their eyeballs in aqueducts -- and what a fascinating tale that ends up being. We also get another real historical figure in this one, which is another treat. Not to mention the usual wise-assery. Really enjoyable ... and some key information in this one will turn up again in a future volume, so it's really worth reading. This time, Marcus Didius and Petro are up to their eyeballs in aqueducts -- and what a fascinating tale that ends up being. We also get another real historical figure in this one, which is another treat. Not to mention the usual wise-assery. Really enjoyable ... and some key information in this one will turn up again in a future volume, so it's really worth reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This is a wonderful series and this is definitely one of my favorites in spite of it involving a serial killer. I'm not sure exactly why I liked this book so well. I think part of it is all the historical detail about the aqueducts, one of ancient Rome's notable engineering feats. I had a hard time putting it down. This is a wonderful series and this is definitely one of my favorites in spite of it involving a serial killer. I'm not sure exactly why I liked this book so well. I think part of it is all the historical detail about the aqueducts, one of ancient Rome's notable engineering feats. I had a hard time putting it down.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie Johnson

    My favourite Lindsey Davis book ). I have re-read this many times. Just the perfect blend of comedy, mystery, tension, family drama with the history of the period so effectively portrayed, un-romanticized. As if you were really there. Falco at his best!

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