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Ode to a Banker

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Lindsey Davis is the internationally bestselling author who "makes Rome live" (Washington Post Book World). Funny, astute, and hard-boiled, her series detective, Marcus Didius Falco, now ventures into a new arena, the publishing world of AD 74, to prove that ars longa, vita brevis--and murder is timeless.Can a tough detective possess the soul of a poet? After a public read Lindsey Davis is the internationally bestselling author who "makes Rome live" (Washington Post Book World). Funny, astute, and hard-boiled, her series detective, Marcus Didius Falco, now ventures into a new arena, the publishing world of AD 74, to prove that ars longa, vita brevis--and murder is timeless.Can a tough detective possess the soul of a poet? After a public reading brings him rousing applause, Falco receives an offer to have his work published. But his ego takes a beating when the banker Chrysippus demands payment for putting the verse on papyrus. Hell hath no fury like an author scorned, and when Chrysippus turns up murdered--in the library, no less--it's poetic justice. Appointed the official investigator, Falco's soon up to his stylus in outraged writers and shifty bankers. Now it's time to employ his real talents: deducing the killer from an assembly of suspects.This classic whodunit is Lindsey Davis' most satisfying mystery yet.


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Lindsey Davis is the internationally bestselling author who "makes Rome live" (Washington Post Book World). Funny, astute, and hard-boiled, her series detective, Marcus Didius Falco, now ventures into a new arena, the publishing world of AD 74, to prove that ars longa, vita brevis--and murder is timeless.Can a tough detective possess the soul of a poet? After a public read Lindsey Davis is the internationally bestselling author who "makes Rome live" (Washington Post Book World). Funny, astute, and hard-boiled, her series detective, Marcus Didius Falco, now ventures into a new arena, the publishing world of AD 74, to prove that ars longa, vita brevis--and murder is timeless.Can a tough detective possess the soul of a poet? After a public reading brings him rousing applause, Falco receives an offer to have his work published. But his ego takes a beating when the banker Chrysippus demands payment for putting the verse on papyrus. Hell hath no fury like an author scorned, and when Chrysippus turns up murdered--in the library, no less--it's poetic justice. Appointed the official investigator, Falco's soon up to his stylus in outraged writers and shifty bankers. Now it's time to employ his real talents: deducing the killer from an assembly of suspects.This classic whodunit is Lindsey Davis' most satisfying mystery yet.

30 review for Ode to a Banker

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Dickison

    Another good entry into the Marcus Didius Falco series. In this entry Falco investigates the death of a book publisher as well as some bankers. The lovely Helena continues to act as his second in command and helps resolve the case. This series is a lot of fun, highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Marcus Didius Falco - an informer/detective of ancient Rome has tricky case. Who killed the scroll-seller? He was so hated that nearly everyone was a suspect. image: The reviewer gets Falco's name wrong The wrong label he gave me in his introduction was about to stick. So much for fame. Your name becomes well known - in some incorrect version. It only happens to some of us. Don't tell me you've ever bought a copy of Julius Castor's Gallician Wars. Negoitating a book deal 'So I assume you are interes Marcus Didius Falco - an informer/detective of ancient Rome has tricky case. Who killed the scroll-seller? He was so hated that nearly everyone was a suspect. image: The reviewer gets Falco's name wrong The wrong label he gave me in his introduction was about to stick. So much for fame. Your name becomes well known - in some incorrect version. It only happens to some of us. Don't tell me you've ever bought a copy of Julius Castor's Gallician Wars. Negoitating a book deal 'So I assume you are interested?' I could see Helena, who was standing behind him, shaking her head passionately, with bared teeth. 'I'm interested.' I smiled blithely. Helena had closed her eyes. 'I would like to see more of what you do, I think.' Where she might have looked relieved at my caution, Helena now acted out manic despair; she knew what I would be like if I was let loose at a scroll-seller's. She read as avidly as I did - though when it came to buying, she did not share my taste. As my taste had until recently depended upon what I could lay hands on in a limited corner of the second- or third-hand market, she was probably right to be sceptical. For most of my life I only ever had parts of scroll sets (unboxed), and I had to swap them once they were read. 'Well, you can come down and see us,' Euschemon conceded grumpily. 'I will,' I said. Helena mimed throwing a large skillet at my head. It was an excellent mime. I could smell the dumplings in the imaginary hot broth and feel the sharp-edged handle rivets dinging my skull. Pa's auction house A double-storeyed edifice, set around an open area, where you could buy any kind of junk jewellery and bric-a-brac or be fleeced over furniture and so-called art by masters of the auctioneering fraternity like Pa. Unless you were desperate to acquire a fifth-hand general's fold-up throne with one leg missing, you left your arm-purse at home. On the other hand, if you hankered for a cheap reproduction Venus of Cos with her nose glued on crookedly, this was the place to come. They would even wrap it up for you, and not laugh at your gullibility until you had almost left the shop. House cleaning tips to remove the victim's blood from a mosaic floor 'Can they take away the body?' 'Once I hear what the household people say. Then they can clear the mess. Mind you, the grout in the lovely mosaic is going to hold those stains.' 'Regrouting with a wash is the answer,' said Fusculus, matching my reflective tone. 'Clean the marble pieces thoroughly, then new cement sluiced all over the lot in a thin mixture, and sponged down.' 'Expensive.' 'Oh, but worth it. They'll be looking at the fellow's gore for ever otherwise.' The book trade 'So how were sales?' I asked lightly. Euschemon replied in a dry tone, 'As usual: if you listen to people who commission material, they have a lively stable of writers and are expecting shortly to ruin their competitors. The competitors, however, will accuse them of teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. If you ask the scroll-shops, life is a long struggle; manuscripts are hard to come by at reasonable prices and customers don't want to know. If you look around, people are nonetheless reading - although probably not reading what the critics are praising.' image: Tantrums Little Marcus Baebius was growing frustrated. Junia wanted to berate me, so she had stopped paying attention to him. Gaius tried taking him from Junia, but this produced only paroxysms of fury. In the end, the anguished tot hurled himself face down, beating his head on the floorboards while he yelled and wept in a spectacular fashion. Julia Junilla, our daughter, sat on Helena's lap behaving perfectly for a change. She was staring at her cousin, obviously taking tantrum lessons. I could see she was impressed. How to make a minor criminal confess When I arrived he and Sergius, the punishment man, were teasing a statement out of a recalcitrant victim by the subtle technique of bawling fast questions while flicking him insistently with the end of a hard whip. I winced, and sat out on a bench in the warm evening sun until they tired and shoved their victim into the holding-cell. 'What's he done?' 'He doesn't want to tell us.' That had been obvious. 'What do you think he's done?' 'Run a tunic-stealing racket at the Baths of Calliope.' 'Surely that's too routine to justify the heavy hand?' 'And he poisoned the dog Calliope had brought in to stand guard over the clothes pegs in the changing room.' 'Killed a doggie? Now that's wicked.' 'She bought the dog from my sister,' Sergius broke in angrily. 'My sister took a lot of back-chat for supplying a sick animal.' He went back inside to shout insults through the cell door. I told Petro I still thought they were being too rough on the suspect. 'No, he's lucky,' Petronius assured me. 'Being beaten by Sergius isnothing. The alternative was letting Sergius' sister get to him. She is twice as big' - that must be quite a size, I thought - 'and she's horrible.' image: Lindsey Davis describes the city of Rome in such detail that you feel you know the place better than your own home. As usual it is hard to spot the killer in this delightful murder-mystery. Enjoy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    **Should Read as 4.5 Stars!** Read this book in 2013, and its the 12th volume of the wonderful Marcus Didius Falco series. In this mystery Falco will enter the world of poetics and banking. When the rich Greek banker, Aurelius Chrysippus, is found murdered Falco is commissioned by his best friend, Petronius Longus. Several clues will come into play concerning this murder, and for Falco the task to unravel these clues and come up with the culprit of this terrible murder. At the same time Falco has dom **Should Read as 4.5 Stars!** Read this book in 2013, and its the 12th volume of the wonderful Marcus Didius Falco series. In this mystery Falco will enter the world of poetics and banking. When the rich Greek banker, Aurelius Chrysippus, is found murdered Falco is commissioned by his best friend, Petronius Longus. Several clues will come into play concerning this murder, and for Falco the task to unravel these clues and come up with the culprit of this terrible murder. At the same time Falco has domestic problems concerning his mother and sister who are very fond of the Imperial Spy, Anacrites, A Spy Falco distrusts completely, while his wife, Helena Justina, has been busy with renovating their new home. What is to follow is a witty and exciting Roman mystery, in which Falco will go into any length to identify the murderer of this banker and publisher, and in doing this he'll succeed in the end by sheer determination and grit. Very much recommended, for this is a captivating Roman mystery which is part of a glorious series, and what this episode is concerned I like to call it: "A Very Exciting Mystery Ode"!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Assaph Mehr

    In another mystery relating to the art world, Falco explores the trade in scrolls and plays. Expect less plot twists that usual, though Felix get emotional as it's his poetry on the line. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the sweatshops of scribes copying scrolls, gruesome murders (naturally), and a ground-level but critical look at the stratified Roman society. Since the publisher was also a financier, we get a look at Rome's banking industry. Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the b In another mystery relating to the art world, Falco explores the trade in scrolls and plays. Expect less plot twists that usual, though Felix get emotional as it's his poetry on the line. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the sweatshops of scribes copying scrolls, gruesome murders (naturally), and a ground-level but critical look at the stratified Roman society. Since the publisher was also a financier, we get a look at Rome's banking industry. 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    What I want to know, is, where's the wedding? Falco spent 9 books trying to elevate himself to the middle social rank specifically so that he could marry the senator's daughter. Now he's wearing his gold ring, and Helena Justina is expecting again, but there's not the first mention of a wedding. Humph. Anyway, this is another entertaining Falco book. This time he's investigating the murder of a book publisher/banker, which means the reader gets to hear a little about the Ancient Roman incarnation What I want to know, is, where's the wedding? Falco spent 9 books trying to elevate himself to the middle social rank specifically so that he could marry the senator's daughter. Now he's wearing his gold ring, and Helena Justina is expecting again, but there's not the first mention of a wedding. Humph. Anyway, this is another entertaining Falco book. This time he's investigating the murder of a book publisher/banker, which means the reader gets to hear a little about the Ancient Roman incarnations of those industries. I imagine the author had some fun with this: there's a "strenuous" disclaimer at the beginning: "The scroll shop of Aurelius Chrysippus in the Clivus Publicius bears no relation to my publishers - who are models of editorial judgment, prompt payment, fair dealing, strong marketing, and lunch-buying." I've never really bought into the idea of Falco as a poet - it doesn't seem to fit his character. So I'm glad that, despite the ground covered in this book, his poetry isn't given much more attention than usual. While there's nothing particularly outstanding about this series entry, I always enjoy the books that are set in Rome, not least because we get to spend some time with Falco's friend Lucius Petronius Longus and with Falco's indomitable family. This is a rather slow-moving series: twelve books have covered only about 4 years of Falco's life. There are eight further books already published, and I'm trying not to peek ahead for spoilers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Simon Mcleish

    Originally published on my blog here in August 2001. Recent novels in Davis' Falco series have tended to select a particular area of Roman life on which to concentrate; One Virgin Too Many, for example, has several plot strands concerned with religious ritual. In this novel, it is the literary establishment which she satirises. This makes for one of the funniest novels in the series, as Davis works jokes about the clichés of today's publishing world, critics and writers, into her first century se Originally published on my blog here in August 2001. Recent novels in Davis' Falco series have tended to select a particular area of Roman life on which to concentrate; One Virgin Too Many, for example, has several plot strands concerned with religious ritual. In this novel, it is the literary establishment which she satirises. This makes for one of the funniest novels in the series, as Davis works jokes about the clichés of today's publishing world, critics and writers, into her first century setting. It has already been established that Falco has aspirations as a poet, and at the start of the novel he has been persuaded to join a friend in a public reading. This brings him to the notice of a banker who runs a scriptorium - a sweatshop of slaves copying manuscripts - as a sideline. When this man is eventually murdered, Falco investigates. This is an intricately plotted mystery as well as a humorous historical novel; combining the two this successfully is a considerable achievement. Ode to a Banker is one of the best novels in the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Falco’s on form in this outing, grappling with financiers, patrons of the arts and writers – the first two being the same chap. Davis reminds me that contempt for banker predates the collapse of 2008 as she brings her sharp wit to bear on an, at times, decidedly anachronistic tale of a wise cracking hard boiled loner. Falco, a little bit V I Warshawski, more than a little Sam Spade and for this outing a dash of Poirot, is dragooned by his old friend and now vigile (aka, police) Petronius Longus, Falco’s on form in this outing, grappling with financiers, patrons of the arts and writers – the first two being the same chap. Davis reminds me that contempt for banker predates the collapse of 2008 as she brings her sharp wit to bear on an, at times, decidedly anachronistic tale of a wise cracking hard boiled loner. Falco, a little bit V I Warshawski, more than a little Sam Spade and for this outing a dash of Poirot, is dragooned by his old friend and now vigile (aka, police) Petronius Longus, to take on an investigation of the patron of the arts Aurelius Chrysippus – banker, publisher and pompous ass. In doing so he is drawn into the murky world of banking and the murkier world of publishing all the while grappling with the close to impossible to see through world of his family with their tensions, pretentions and yearnings. To top it off, there is more than one murder, a couple of fairly ferocious beatings and a prime role of an adventure story in the Greek style….. There is plenty of cap doffing to other practitioners of the genre, a good dose of knowledge of Roman history and society and plenty of opportunity for sardonic chuckles. Falco continues to entertain.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Silke

    In a hot summer Marcus Didius Falco, private informer and former unrecognized poet gives a reading for family and friends - and also a greek patron who offers Falco to publish his works. The feeling of trimph soon fades and Falco not only find himself sobered but also involved in a quite brutal murder. The series continues to entertain. Falco is, as always, annoying and funny likewise, his relationship to his loved ones is a source for lots of banter but also quite touching moments and the myste In a hot summer Marcus Didius Falco, private informer and former unrecognized poet gives a reading for family and friends - and also a greek patron who offers Falco to publish his works. The feeling of trimph soon fades and Falco not only find himself sobered but also involved in a quite brutal murder. The series continues to entertain. Falco is, as always, annoying and funny likewise, his relationship to his loved ones is a source for lots of banter but also quite touching moments and the mystery is a solid one with an ending which reminds me a lot of one of Hercule Poirots gathering of suspects.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    One of Davis' best offerings in the Falco series. One To A Banker combines all elements that mystery fans would definitely love; a sensational murder, numerous suspects that all seem to be involved in some manner or another and a snarky, world-weary detective who reveals the true culprit of the murder in a manner not unlike Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. An exciting mystery that offers the usual, fascinating wealth of information about the Roman world, woven subtly into the plot in a way that One of Davis' best offerings in the Falco series. One To A Banker combines all elements that mystery fans would definitely love; a sensational murder, numerous suspects that all seem to be involved in some manner or another and a snarky, world-weary detective who reveals the true culprit of the murder in a manner not unlike Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. An exciting mystery that offers the usual, fascinating wealth of information about the Roman world, woven subtly into the plot in a way that would not distract readers new to Roman history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Phizacklea

    There were things I liked about this number in the series - Petronius getting on with it, the puppy, the scriptorium and details around the publishing and writing world were great - but the unrelenting hatred for Anacrites seems forced after so much has happened. Also - the ‘court room’ drama really wasn’t my thing. But in all, very good.

  11. 5 out of 5

    M.G. Mason

    Yes, it’s that time again when I dip into the colourful world of Lindsey Davis’ 1st century Roman informer (Private Detective) Marcus Didius Falco, his high-class wife Helena Justina and their growing family as Falco seeks to move up a class and gain some credibility and standing. This is number twelve in her twenty book series following the demobbed legionary. Just eight to go after this one. Falco has taken it upon himself to write poetry and some of the early narrative will ring true and amuse Yes, it’s that time again when I dip into the colourful world of Lindsey Davis’ 1st century Roman informer (Private Detective) Marcus Didius Falco, his high-class wife Helena Justina and their growing family as Falco seeks to move up a class and gain some credibility and standing. This is number twelve in her twenty book series following the demobbed legionary. Just eight to go after this one. Falco has taken it upon himself to write poetry and some of the early narrative will ring true and amuse writers – the distractions, the lack of free time and the obstacles to the creative process. In fact, it carries on in this manner and the jokes are about writing, creativity and publishing. There is a lot of satire on our art and the industry, including jokes at the expense of publishing houses – especially vanity publishing. Yes, this is the self-parody and the nod to her readers who are also writers and with that, it is one of the funniest books of this hilarious series. Davis’ books have always been funny, but on few occasions have I been so reduced to tears of laughter as I was with this one. A vanity publisher had been murdered, and after being prime suspect for all of about three pages, Petronius Longus asks for Falco’s help. It is once again down to the Roman world’s most hapless and infamous Informers to find out who did it and why. With cameos from historical figures including the imperial family, Falco grumbles his way through another adventure. Not wanting to repeat myself on style and flow, after all I have written reviews of all of these so far, I’m just going to say that there’s no change of form here. You know what to expect from the quick wit, colourful range of characters, the edutainment factor and his developing relationship with the regular characters. Anacrites is still lodging with Falco’s mum and you feel that when the time comes, it will not be a pretty ending between them. I felt a bit thrown into the beginning of this one, there was no reintroduction and subtle reminders as from previous books, Davis just dives in and I felt it a little difficult to adjust, which is odd for a series that has accessibility as one of its core strengths. Thankfully, this last just a couple of chapters and I soon found myself back into the most major characters are reintroduced by about chapter 5. Great stuff, as ever. See more book reviews at my blog

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    In Ode to a Banker, Lindsey Davis tackles both the publishing and the banking industries in ancient Rome. Aurelius Chrysippus, a tasteless Greek who owns a Scriptorium, approaches Marcus to see if he would like to self-publish his poetic scribblings. Outraged that he would be expected to pay the costs of the “printing” himself (ah, vanity publishing!), Marcus storms away, only to find out that the odious Greek must have outraged someone else that day too. Aurelius Chrysippus’ corpse is discovere In Ode to a Banker, Lindsey Davis tackles both the publishing and the banking industries in ancient Rome. Aurelius Chrysippus, a tasteless Greek who owns a Scriptorium, approaches Marcus to see if he would like to self-publish his poetic scribblings. Outraged that he would be expected to pay the costs of the “printing” himself (ah, vanity publishing!), Marcus storms away, only to find out that the odious Greek must have outraged someone else that day too. Aurelius Chrysippus’ corpse is discovered beaten to a pulp with the finial of a scroll shoved up his nose, and Petronius Longus (chief of the vigiles) subcontracts Marcus to investigate. As he interviews disgruntled authors, an old first wife, a young second wife, and a spoiled son, Marcus discovers that Chrysippus had fingers in more than one pie. He also owns a bank, entitled the Golden Horse, and his shady business deals there may have run him into more trouble than his lack of literary taste at the publishing house.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sana Zameer

    3.75 Stars Another fun filled mystery starring Falco and company. Love the stunning description of Rome Lindsey Davies always provides. It makes me want to time travel back to AD 74 Rome but I won't survive long for sure! Falco's interaction with his dysfunctional family is one of the best parts. As Usual this one involves a murder mystery, a publisher, whom no one likes is found dead in his library and Falco is brought in by his friend Patronius Longus to investigate. Tackling family troubles, q 3.75 Stars Another fun filled mystery starring Falco and company. Love the stunning description of Rome Lindsey Davies always provides. It makes me want to time travel back to AD 74 Rome but I won't survive long for sure! Falco's interaction with his dysfunctional family is one of the best parts. As Usual this one involves a murder mystery, a publisher, whom no one likes is found dead in his library and Falco is brought in by his friend Patronius Longus to investigate. Tackling family troubles, questioning shady characters Marcus Didius Falco is one hell of a PI.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    The usual sarcastic Falco wit. The usual snarky commentary on Roman society. The usual lovely, sensible Helena. Everything was there that I've come to expect in a Falco mystery and it's why I'll always be looking to read more. The usual sarcastic Falco wit. The usual snarky commentary on Roman society. The usual lovely, sensible Helena. Everything was there that I've come to expect in a Falco mystery and it's why I'll always be looking to read more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbra

    Another good read from this author.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Krotec

    "Dead men wait."- Favorite line from this one! "Dead men wait."- Favorite line from this one!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ric

    Seems like Falco did what other informers(investigators) do, get all parties in one place and hash out the guilty party(s). A good read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kemp

    A good insight into life in Rome.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rosalind

    Murder in the Slush Pile This episode in the Roman crime saga takes us back to base in Rome for a romp in the worlds of classical publishing and banking, and of patronage. Those worlds have many similarities with their counterparts in our own time and no doubt draw on the author's own experiences at a time in her writing career when her writing has become successful enough to be financially self-sustaining. Our hero Marcus Didius is headhunted by a wealthy publisher, but turns the proposed deal do Murder in the Slush Pile This episode in the Roman crime saga takes us back to base in Rome for a romp in the worlds of classical publishing and banking, and of patronage. Those worlds have many similarities with their counterparts in our own time and no doubt draw on the author's own experiences at a time in her writing career when her writing has become successful enough to be financially self-sustaining. Our hero Marcus Didius is headhunted by a wealthy publisher, but turns the proposed deal down as too exploitative. Shortly afterwards Chrysippus the publisher is found brutally murdered in his library - literally a body in the library, signalling that this is going to be in part a clever Agatha Christie spoof with Falco becoming more Poirot than Marlowe. Chrysippus is a Greek banker as well as a patron of the arts, but who wants him dead? A disgruntled author or a hard-up bank client? Or someone entirely different with a grievance? The Falcon family saga moves on, with cameos from Ma, Pa and bossy sister Junia as well as Maia the Nice One. Anacrites is scheming and romance comes for Petri. There's a nice swipe at writers groups, and a neat joke that you'll miss if you haven't studied Latin concerning the fate of a manuscript submitted by one Martialis. If you wanted to meet Marcus Didius Falcon for the first time I'd suggest you didn't start here because in so many ways it's not typical. Best to begin at the beginning anyway.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    As has been the case with many of the books in this series, this book has a slow start. Not much happens prior to the grisly murder that Falco is called on to solve. By this point in the series the reader is familiar with Falco, his family, and his associates. Davis uses that to develop subplots involving the romantic affairs of Faco's widowed sister, his mother, and the chief spy Anacrites. Davis is very effective at describing Ancient Rome, and its customs. The geography of the city is very imp As has been the case with many of the books in this series, this book has a slow start. Not much happens prior to the grisly murder that Falco is called on to solve. By this point in the series the reader is familiar with Falco, his family, and his associates. Davis uses that to develop subplots involving the romantic affairs of Faco's widowed sister, his mother, and the chief spy Anacrites. Davis is very effective at describing Ancient Rome, and its customs. The geography of the city is very important to the protagonists who must walk from one point to another. However, Davis' modus operendi is to take a stock 1940's detective story and re-imagine it in an ancient setting. The world-weary private eye, becomes Didius the informer, his cop friend becomes Petronius the vigille, a publishing house becomes a scriptorium. The publisher murdered in his library, a motley collection of disgruntled writers are suspects, but there is a banking connection that adds complexity. There are points in the book where the tension between ancient setting and modern plot becomes a little too great for my taste, once corpses begin to turn up, the plot moves along rapidly, and it becomes a gripping story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Simon Binning

    This episode in the career of Falco the Informer sees him tasked with uncovering the murderer of a publisher, who also happened to be a banker. There are any number of potential suspects, and the unraveling of the mystery is therefore quite complicated. This is a good old fashioned murder-mystery, and the denouement even takes place in a library with all the suspects present. There are also the usual family storylines going on through the book, involving virtually all Falco's extended family, as This episode in the career of Falco the Informer sees him tasked with uncovering the murderer of a publisher, who also happened to be a banker. There are any number of potential suspects, and the unraveling of the mystery is therefore quite complicated. This is a good old fashioned murder-mystery, and the denouement even takes place in a library with all the suspects present. There are also the usual family storylines going on through the book, involving virtually all Falco's extended family, as well as Petro and Anacrites, and their stories interlace with the mystery plot in a nice way. This is one of my favourite episodes in the series so far. The plot take you into areas - banking and publishing - that are not the normal settings for Roman fiction, and that adds significantly to the interest. The family developments are, as usual, well handled, and the main characters are now whole, well-rounded individuals.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Another excellent Falco book. Although Falco still has his official position as keeper of the Imperial geese, that still leaves him time for other pursuits including his love of writing. Given the chance to read his verse in a semi public setting he is then visited by a publisher (Chrysippus) willing to publish his work. On further investigation it turns out that Falco would have to cover all of the costs of printing and of course he passes on that great opportunity. The next day Falco's friend Another excellent Falco book. Although Falco still has his official position as keeper of the Imperial geese, that still leaves him time for other pursuits including his love of writing. Given the chance to read his verse in a semi public setting he is then visited by a publisher (Chrysippus) willing to publish his work. On further investigation it turns out that Falco would have to cover all of the costs of printing and of course he passes on that great opportunity. The next day Falco's friend Petro turns up asking about his visit to the publisher because Chrysippus turns up murdered. Petro doesn't really think Falco is involved but he does want Falco to investigate and of course he ends up taking on the case. As usual along with the actual mystery we are entertained with the latest happenings in Falco's family including his mother, father and sisters as well as Anacrites, Emperor's Vespasians Chief Spy and Falco's nemesis.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    This 12th installment in the series examines the publishing and banking industries of Vespasian's Rome. As usual, Lindsey Davis makes this period come alive. Marcus Didius Falco is investigating the brutal murder of Chrysippus, the owner of a publishing house interested in Falco's satires. Falco discovers Chrysippus also owns the Aurelian Bank which has been involved in some shady investment schemes. Anacrites, the Chief Spy, and erstwhile partner, continues to be a thorn in Falco's flesh as he This 12th installment in the series examines the publishing and banking industries of Vespasian's Rome. As usual, Lindsey Davis makes this period come alive. Marcus Didius Falco is investigating the brutal murder of Chrysippus, the owner of a publishing house interested in Falco's satires. Falco discovers Chrysippus also owns the Aurelian Bank which has been involved in some shady investment schemes. Anacrites, the Chief Spy, and erstwhile partner, continues to be a thorn in Falco's flesh as he romances Falco sister, and provides investment advice to Falco's mother. More family problems crop up when Didius Geminus, Falco's father, loses his grip on his business. The involved plot kept me guessing and intrigued!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex in Spades

    Another amazing journey through ancient Rome with Falco. I had so much fun with this book. As always I adored Falco's cynicism, this time in the wold of high poetry. I loved the ending, when my favorite detective gathered everyone in one place, and (in the school of Poirot) started to explain who killed. Also I love all the accompanying characters - Helena and her support for Falco, as well as her loving criticism is always refreshing for me. I also enjoyed all the Falco's family drama that occur Another amazing journey through ancient Rome with Falco. I had so much fun with this book. As always I adored Falco's cynicism, this time in the wold of high poetry. I loved the ending, when my favorite detective gathered everyone in one place, and (in the school of Poirot) started to explain who killed. Also I love all the accompanying characters - Helena and her support for Falco, as well as her loving criticism is always refreshing for me. I also enjoyed all the Falco's family drama that occurred here. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Good, tight murder mystery. Marcus Didius Falco (private detective in the city of Rome in 74 A.D.) investigates the shocking murder of a well-known publisher. Everyone is a suspect and the story had me enthralled right up to the last few pages. Blended in with the clues are the never-ending tales of Falco's extended family with all of their ups/downs. The books in this series are great for curling up on a cold night with a warm drink and a comfortable chair! Good, tight murder mystery. Marcus Didius Falco (private detective in the city of Rome in 74 A.D.) investigates the shocking murder of a well-known publisher. Everyone is a suspect and the story had me enthralled right up to the last few pages. Blended in with the clues are the never-ending tales of Falco's extended family with all of their ups/downs. The books in this series are great for curling up on a cold night with a warm drink and a comfortable chair!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    A fun read which kept several suspects in the frame until the denouncement. The publishing setting made for some humourous passages which seem like Davis might be sharing some in-jokes with her readers. I enjoyed the additions to the ongoing saga of the Falco family. I'll be moving on the the next instalment in the near future. A fun read which kept several suspects in the frame until the denouncement. The publishing setting made for some humourous passages which seem like Davis might be sharing some in-jokes with her readers. I enjoyed the additions to the ongoing saga of the Falco family. I'll be moving on the the next instalment in the near future.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I feel like this series just keeps getting better. When I started this series I didn't like it nearly as well as Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder series. Now I'm finding that I like it a bit better than the ones I've read lately by Saylor - which is not to say that Saylor's series isn't worth reading, far from it. I feel like this series just keeps getting better. When I started this series I didn't like it nearly as well as Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder series. Now I'm finding that I like it a bit better than the ones I've read lately by Saylor - which is not to say that Saylor's series isn't worth reading, far from it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    A roman murder with lots of suspects, but Davis does not let the story get too complicated. Falco's family members are also cleverly woven into this tale without disrupting the flow. The backdrop is the art of poetry/writing in ancient Rome - something I had not yet ready too much about. A roman murder with lots of suspects, but Davis does not let the story get too complicated. Falco's family members are also cleverly woven into this tale without disrupting the flow. The backdrop is the art of poetry/writing in ancient Rome - something I had not yet ready too much about.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Another enjoyable episode in the life of Marcus Didius and his long-suffering partner, Helena. Their chaotic lives are a source of perpetual amusement. As I am working my way through the series, I will leave a while till the next one, so that I can savour the anticipation.....

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Buck

    Lindsey Davis is one of the most reliable authors I read and this is no exception. The characters are great as always, and the setting is beautifully realised. I particularly enjoyed the references to the life of a writer in this one. Maybe not the best of the series, but right up there.

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