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Scandal Takes a Holiday

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In Ostia, Falco appears to be enjoying a relaxing holiday. But when his girlfriend, Helena, arrives carrying a batch of old copies of the Daily Gazette--with the intention of catching up on the latest scandal--Falco is forced to admit his real reasons for being there. "Infamia," the pen name of the gossip columnist for the Daily Gazette, has gone missing. His fellow scribe In Ostia, Falco appears to be enjoying a relaxing holiday. But when his girlfriend, Helena, arrives carrying a batch of old copies of the Daily Gazette--with the intention of catching up on the latest scandal--Falco is forced to admit his real reasons for being there. "Infamia," the pen name of the gossip columnist for the Daily Gazette, has gone missing. His fellow scribes have employed Falco to bring him back from his drunken truancy. Before long, Falco's enquiries lead him into the world of piracy and the discovery of criminal traditions long believed dead. Is this the right path toward finding Infamia? Why would pirates have taken him? And if they have, will he be found alive?


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In Ostia, Falco appears to be enjoying a relaxing holiday. But when his girlfriend, Helena, arrives carrying a batch of old copies of the Daily Gazette--with the intention of catching up on the latest scandal--Falco is forced to admit his real reasons for being there. "Infamia," the pen name of the gossip columnist for the Daily Gazette, has gone missing. His fellow scribe In Ostia, Falco appears to be enjoying a relaxing holiday. But when his girlfriend, Helena, arrives carrying a batch of old copies of the Daily Gazette--with the intention of catching up on the latest scandal--Falco is forced to admit his real reasons for being there. "Infamia," the pen name of the gossip columnist for the Daily Gazette, has gone missing. His fellow scribes have employed Falco to bring him back from his drunken truancy. Before long, Falco's enquiries lead him into the world of piracy and the discovery of criminal traditions long believed dead. Is this the right path toward finding Infamia? Why would pirates have taken him? And if they have, will he be found alive?

30 review for Scandal Takes a Holiday

  1. 4 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    Read this book in 2014, and its the 16th outing of the marvellous Marcus Didius Falco series. This time we find Falco with his wife Helena Justina and little family, with their friend Petronius, on a holiday in Ostia. The real reason for this holiday is that the pen name of the scribe of the gossip column for the Daily Gazette called, "Infamia", has gone missing. His fellow scribes have asked Falco to investigate this case, and soon the whole extended family are busy investigating. What will follow Read this book in 2014, and its the 16th outing of the marvellous Marcus Didius Falco series. This time we find Falco with his wife Helena Justina and little family, with their friend Petronius, on a holiday in Ostia. The real reason for this holiday is that the pen name of the scribe of the gossip column for the Daily Gazette called, "Infamia", has gone missing. His fellow scribes have asked Falco to investigate this case, and soon the whole extended family are busy investigating. What will follow is an exciting mystery where the whole family will take part in helping Falco to solve this case of the missing scribe, and where kidnappers, gangsters, assassins and an old pirate will play a decisive role in disturbing this case, before Falco with all his wit and cunning will be able to reveal the culprit. Very much recommended, for this is a great addition to this amazing series, and that's why I like to call this episode: "A Very Satisfying Gossip Mystery"!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Assaph Mehr

    Gossip columnists and pirates make an interesting combination for Falco. Ostia is Rome's seaport, and like all seaports is a hotbed of shady dealings. Expect a review of Rome's literary scene (read, published gossip), a trip to the seaside (with family meals in taverna courtyards, and some light piracy (with an over-the-top rescue). Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps; Falco's family life has evolved throughout the series, and play a big part in de Gossip columnists and pirates make an interesting combination for Falco. Ostia is Rome's seaport, and like all seaports is a hotbed of shady dealings. Expect a review of Rome's literary scene (read, published gossip), a trip to the seaside (with family meals in taverna courtyards, and some light piracy (with an over-the-top rescue). Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps; Falco's family life has evolved throughout the series, and play a big part in describing daily lives and plot points. -- Assaph Mehr, author of [[ASIN:B015TXPPG6 Murder In Absentia: Togas, Daggers, and Magic]] - for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Dickison

    Another excellent Falco novel. This is one of my favorite series and Davis should be applauded for doing the research to bring ancient Rome alive. The wry humor which permeates every page is so well done. Falco investigates pirates and kidnaping in this one, and, as usual, Helena is the real brains of the team. Falco supplies the bravery and Petro supplies the brawn. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Buck

    Not the strongest entry in the series, in fact possibly one of the weakest. Its hard to put my finger on exactly why... I didn't find that ostia was as well realised as many of the other locations, the new characters felt quite generic and the surprises weren't that surprising. Still love Falco though. Not the strongest entry in the series, in fact possibly one of the weakest. Its hard to put my finger on exactly why... I didn't find that ostia was as well realised as many of the other locations, the new characters felt quite generic and the surprises weren't that surprising. Still love Falco though.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Simon Binning

    Marcus Didius Falco is one of those characters that you wish you had thought of, rather than leaving it to Lindsey Davis! Her series featuring the Roman informer has been very successful, and it is easy to see why. Each episode contains a self-contained mystery for our hero to solve, but it is Falco and his family who are the main ingredient. From the beginning, he was never a lone figure. Over time, his wife - the brilliant Helena Justina - and various members of his wider family have all playe Marcus Didius Falco is one of those characters that you wish you had thought of, rather than leaving it to Lindsey Davis! Her series featuring the Roman informer has been very successful, and it is easy to see why. Each episode contains a self-contained mystery for our hero to solve, but it is Falco and his family who are the main ingredient. From the beginning, he was never a lone figure. Over time, his wife - the brilliant Helena Justina - and various members of his wider family have all played important roles in the books. In this volume, Falco takes his family on holiday to Ostia, but as usual, it's a working holiday. One of the scribes responsible for the gossip column in the Daily Gazette has gone missing, and Falco is trying to find out what has happened to him. The plot soon widens as he discovers that the port seems to be full of men of wealth from dubious sources. All seem to have - or have had - connections to piracy, even though - officially - there are no pirates any more. His old friend Petronius turns up, and he has to admit his true purpose in Ostia. He also finally meets the one member of his family he has never seen; it comes as no surprise, that this latest relative is not the most trustworthy person in the port. As always, there is a marvellous cast of new characters; one of the author's strengths is that her supporting cast are always really well drawn and believable. The story in this episode is entertaining and fun. Falco is his usual self; hassled by most of his family, supported by his wife, and dogged in his work. It's not the best in the series, but that's not really the point. For those of us who have read the whole series, it builds slowly over time. We learn more about Falco and his family in each book, sometimes only small things, but by this episode, we feel we know him - and Helena - very well. Sometimes we know how he will react to a situation before the author actually tells us. Occasionally though, she still surprises us.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gypsi

    Falco goes to Ostia to find a missing scribe, and becomes involved in searching out a kidnapping ring. As is generally the case with the Falco mysteries, it is witty, quick paced, and a good deal of fun. Davis writes well, and the details of Roman life during the early Flavian dynasty are always fascinating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Fischman

    The conventions of the genre tell us that every person we meet and every thread of the plot must be related somehow. In this book, however, there are just too many. A missing gossip columnist, a favorite aunt, a revenge plot, corruption in the builders' union, rivalry between different police precincts and intelligence agencies, an older woman pressed into service by kidnappers, a younger woman in love with one of the kidnappers without really knowing what she's gotten herself into, pirates and The conventions of the genre tell us that every person we meet and every thread of the plot must be related somehow. In this book, however, there are just too many. A missing gossip columnist, a favorite aunt, a revenge plot, corruption in the builders' union, rivalry between different police precincts and intelligence agencies, an older woman pressed into service by kidnappers, a younger woman in love with one of the kidnappers without really knowing what she's gotten herself into, pirates and smugglers, two different groups of sinister foreigners who sometimes collaborate and sometimes go for one another's throat...I have intentionally used the modern terms for these people so you may ask, as I did, "Is this Ostia and Rome, or Brooklyn and Manhattan?" As for people being related, we finally meet Marcus's long-lost uncle Fulvius. He has an interesting story of his own, and it's not implausible for him to show up here. But why does nearly every other person from both Marcus's and Helena's families put in an appearance? I suspect it's more in the interests of fan service than because they actually advance the plot. Despite my earlier comments, you do learn a lot about the setting, the times, and the shipping trades from reading this book. I liked that, but others may skip over paragraphs at a time to get to the action...or to find out more about Marcus Didius Falco as a paterfamilias of a growing clan.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kemp

    Lindsey Davis paints a vivid and colourful world of Ancient Rome and the surrounding towns and countryside

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beachcomber

    I always enjoy the characters, but I didn’t really manage to follow the whole pirate/random storyline.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    c2004: Ostia, gossip, scribes, piracy, uncle. I have seen some comments about this series that indicated that some readers felt that the books had become formulaic and, sadly, that is probably the reason why I love these books. I have quite a bit invested in the characters now and the various relationships on the go and I usually can't wait to get the next in the series. There is no unknown factor and reading one of them is more relaxing than yoga. "It depends on how you look at it. Let us land c2004: Ostia, gossip, scribes, piracy, uncle. I have seen some comments about this series that indicated that some readers felt that the books had become formulaic and, sadly, that is probably the reason why I love these books. I have quite a bit invested in the characters now and the various relationships on the go and I usually can't wait to get the next in the series. There is no unknown factor and reading one of them is more relaxing than yoga. "It depends on how you look at it. Let us land and beat up the locals: you are a pirate; I am a heroic warrior with expansionist pretensions on behalf of my city-state. Goes back at least to Athens ... Piracy was the fast alternative to diplomacy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    Scandal Takes a Holiday, the next book in the Falco series, follows our intrepid hero to the port of Ostia where he is trying to ascertain the whereabouts of a missing scribe. This is not just any scribe, however–it is Infamia, the celebrated writer of the scandal column in Rome’s official newspaper. In the process, Falco discovers a corrupt builders’ guild, a kidnapping racket, and the unsettling information that Cilician pirates (the ones that Pompey wiped out a hundred years ago) might be ply Scandal Takes a Holiday, the next book in the Falco series, follows our intrepid hero to the port of Ostia where he is trying to ascertain the whereabouts of a missing scribe. This is not just any scribe, however–it is Infamia, the celebrated writer of the scandal column in Rome’s official newspaper. In the process, Falco discovers a corrupt builders’ guild, a kidnapping racket, and the unsettling information that Cilician pirates (the ones that Pompey wiped out a hundred years ago) might be plying their trade once again. I “really liked” this one, but it wasn’t “amazing.” Four stars! I’m going to be so sad when I finish reading this series….

  12. 5 out of 5

    Silke

    Falco and family go to Ostia in search of a missing scribe and soon he finds himself wrapped up in kidnapping and piracy cases. It was witty, quick paced and vivid as usual and I really liked getting to know one of the charakters from a previous book a little bit more. CN: There is also a (minor) queer subplot which was handled a bit awkward

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Although Falco and company interact with modern sensibilities, these are still fun and interesting books. Davis has done a lot of good research.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shani

    Falco, Helena and Petronius working together to bring the criminals to book in Ostia outside Rome.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    In which Marcus Didius Falco spends summer seeking a scribe in Ostia, tangles with pirates, takes an unexpected dip, assignates with Attis, Cybele’s castrated consort and encounters a mysterious uncle. That is, it’s a classic Falco adventure where nothing is quite as it seems, but we know we can expect some high level dodgy practice and reasonably hope for corruption as ancient Rome’s finest hard boiled loner seeks justice and by virtue of family life becomes lightly less hard boiled and much le In which Marcus Didius Falco spends summer seeking a scribe in Ostia, tangles with pirates, takes an unexpected dip, assignates with Attis, Cybele’s castrated consort and encounters a mysterious uncle. That is, it’s a classic Falco adventure where nothing is quite as it seems, but we know we can expect some high level dodgy practice and reasonably hope for corruption as ancient Rome’s finest hard boiled loner seeks justice and by virtue of family life becomes lightly less hard boiled and much less of a loner. Davis has a rich, deep knowledge of ancient Rome and its wider world, and is adept at bringing it to life through these adventures. In this instance I like that it is through a search for the gossip columnist in an official imperial news source, leaving lots of opportunity for comment on ‘news’ as well as rummaging around in dodgy settings, all perfect for Falco. Helena, Falco’s aristocratic wife, continues to be the sensible one, stepping in from time to time and stepping up when it is called for, and it is good to see a hint of the future direction of the Davis oeuvre as Albia, their teenage adopted orphaned Briton, takes a greater role in the events as more than a provider of childcare, actively intervening in settings and providing good sense and insight from her past world. The Falco stories are a loving engagement with the hard boiled loner world of crime fiction, and while never quite Dashell Hammett they are among the best at the lighter end, with a sharply cynical, morally upright hero, sassy characters and great narratives. This is one of the better, lacking only a compelling femme fatale to be classic noir but with plenty of other threats.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Doohan

    This was another enjoyable read in the ongoing and unfolding adventures of our hero Marcus Didius Falco, his family, and the wider group of regulars who, by now, are well known to the reader. The opportunity to visit Ostia while searching for a missing 'journalist' sees Falco pack his household and head down for a holiday as well. It was going to be an easy assignment, and the opportunity was just too good to miss. And then the trouble starts... Stumbling across local intrigue, Falco is drawn into This was another enjoyable read in the ongoing and unfolding adventures of our hero Marcus Didius Falco, his family, and the wider group of regulars who, by now, are well known to the reader. The opportunity to visit Ostia while searching for a missing 'journalist' sees Falco pack his household and head down for a holiday as well. It was going to be an easy assignment, and the opportunity was just too good to miss. And then the trouble starts... Stumbling across local intrigue, Falco is drawn into more than he bargained for. There is kidnapping, there is murder, there is graft and corruption, and there is foreigners with shady pasts. Falco is almost at home, but his doggedness - along with some help from family and friends - eventually unravels the various threads to reveal not only what was truly happening in Ostia, but also the surprise identity of who was behind it all. Lindsey Davis is rapidly proving to be a favourite author. Her grasp of her characters, by now well developed and loved, along with the historic setting in which Falco's adventures are set, are masterful and engaging. Reading these novels are not a burden; it is like delving into the story of the extended family. I've already started the next edition...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Yo Ho, Ho! (And an Amphora of Wine) By contrast to the previous restrained courtroom drama based novel, Lindsey Davis’s sets the sixteenth episode of the Falco series in Ostia, Rome’s vital harbour town, where our gum-sandaled protagonist finds himself tracking down the whereabouts of an influential journalist who has gone missing while on holiday. During his investigations Marcus Didius encounters civic corruption, a kidnapping gang and an old ex-pirate with a colourful history. The narrative is Yo Ho, Ho! (And an Amphora of Wine) By contrast to the previous restrained courtroom drama based novel, Lindsey Davis’s sets the sixteenth episode of the Falco series in Ostia, Rome’s vital harbour town, where our gum-sandaled protagonist finds himself tracking down the whereabouts of an influential journalist who has gone missing while on holiday. During his investigations Marcus Didius encounters civic corruption, a kidnapping gang and an old ex-pirate with a colourful history. The narrative is witty and fast-paced with an intriguing complex plot involving numerous twists and turns. Having gained a knowledge of the extended Didius clan, each subsequent book never fails to delight as more is revealed about this unique family, in this case the mystery behind the disappearance of an uncle twenty years ago. The high standard of writing is maintained in this novel as the author continues to skilfully educate and effortlessly entertain her readers about Roman history and Roman life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Continuing to make my way thru the Falco series and enjoying them all the way. Unfortunately reading them in December means a much slower pace as other parts of my life get in the way. In this book Falco and Helena Justina are in Rome's port of Ostia where Falco is searching for a missing person -- the author of the official scandal column in the Daily Gazette. It looks as if it will be an easy job with the fun of being at the seaside during August. Of course there are complications... It's alw Continuing to make my way thru the Falco series and enjoying them all the way. Unfortunately reading them in December means a much slower pace as other parts of my life get in the way. In this book Falco and Helena Justina are in Rome's port of Ostia where Falco is searching for a missing person -- the author of the official scandal column in the Daily Gazette. It looks as if it will be an easy job with the fun of being at the seaside during August. Of course there are complications... It's always fun in these books to find out more about Falco's extended family. This time we are introduced to his mother's oldest brother -- the one no one ever mentions and we find out that Pa is richer than ever.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    This got off to a faster start than most of the later books in the Falco series. He is already working on a case and he is already in place at the Roman port of Ostia. Ostia is lovingly described, and the action of the story feels rooted in the environs which quite charmingly come alive. Falco's interactions with his family (father, mother, sister, uncle, wife, children) are lively and authentic. The plot is complex. It involves fire-fighting, a Builder's guild with out sized influence, pirates, This got off to a faster start than most of the later books in the Falco series. He is already working on a case and he is already in place at the Roman port of Ostia. Ostia is lovingly described, and the action of the story feels rooted in the environs which quite charmingly come alive. Falco's interactions with his family (father, mother, sister, uncle, wife, children) are lively and authentic. The plot is complex. It involves fire-fighting, a Builder's guild with out sized influence, pirates, kidnapping, and (of course!) murder. Falco's wife, Helena Justina, makes a significant contribution through her scholarship. Their adopted daughter, Albia, is shown settling into the family. It is all-in-all quite satisfying.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Spitzer

    This author was suggested by Good Reads and I found this one used so I picked it up and read it. Likely I should have started this author's books with the first of the series. There are references to past events and people. It was not a problem. Excellent characterization (some are "real characters") and a fun plot, humor and action. The Roman culture of the time period fits. For those who don't know and are disturbed by the corn references and complain that corn did not exist in ancient Rome. T This author was suggested by Good Reads and I found this one used so I picked it up and read it. Likely I should have started this author's books with the first of the series. There are references to past events and people. It was not a problem. Excellent characterization (some are "real characters") and a fun plot, humor and action. The Roman culture of the time period fits. For those who don't know and are disturbed by the corn references and complain that corn did not exist in ancient Rome. True corn/maize did not, but the term corn was used by Julius Caesar and other Romans as a generic reference to a variety of grain crops and that is how this book uses the term. Therefor the author is accurate.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I have been enjoying the Marcus Didius Falco series set in ancient Rome, and Scandal Takes a Holiday is another fun romp with historical underpinnings. Marcus is a private of sorts and has been hired to find a missing newspaper gossip columnist. Think Hedda Hopper but with a toga. Marcus takes his family with him to the sea side resort/bustling port, and spends a lot of time coping with his extended family while trying to track down the reporter. As always, he gets into several pickles and meets I have been enjoying the Marcus Didius Falco series set in ancient Rome, and Scandal Takes a Holiday is another fun romp with historical underpinnings. Marcus is a private of sorts and has been hired to find a missing newspaper gossip columnist. Think Hedda Hopper but with a toga. Marcus takes his family with him to the sea side resort/bustling port, and spends a lot of time coping with his extended family while trying to track down the reporter. As always, he gets into several pickles and meets up with unsavory sorts, but solves the mystery in his own comical style.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Abrams

    I listened to this Marcus Didius Fakco mystery having no idea that it was set in the Roman Empire era. I enjoy listening to detective mysteries, since they are perfect for exercise. Needless to say, my historian antenna were on alert all through this novel. I found the contemporary feeling intrigue disconcerting when set in antiquity. While well constructed, the plots twists and turns made the story unnecessarily long.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    A gossip columnist from Rome goes missing in the port of Ostia. Since scandal is everywhere, finding him is no easy matter. In Ostia, you can make a killing importing goods with dubious origins, preying on wide-eyed visitors, and cornering the market on the many building contracts negotiated in the burgeoning town. Falco can't be sure which story, if any, the missing reporter was chasing. A gossip columnist from Rome goes missing in the port of Ostia. Since scandal is everywhere, finding him is no easy matter. In Ostia, you can make a killing importing goods with dubious origins, preying on wide-eyed visitors, and cornering the market on the many building contracts negotiated in the burgeoning town. Falco can't be sure which story, if any, the missing reporter was chasing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    JodiP

    There was a great deal of political intrigue in this book, and since I listened to it, I'll admit it was a bit hard to follow. However, I like this series--and Falco--enough to read them. But, note: read, don't listen to them! There was a great deal of political intrigue in this book, and since I listened to it, I'll admit it was a bit hard to follow. However, I like this series--and Falco--enough to read them. But, note: read, don't listen to them!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    A rather unremarkable installment in Marcus Didius Falco-saga, or should I perhaps say 'Just another day in Marcus' life'. Fans of the cycle should be able to get through it without many complaints, everyone else should leave this one alone for time being and look for 'Silver Pigs' instead. A rather unremarkable installment in Marcus Didius Falco-saga, or should I perhaps say 'Just another day in Marcus' life'. Fans of the cycle should be able to get through it without many complaints, everyone else should leave this one alone for time being and look for 'Silver Pigs' instead.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I thought I had reviewed this book and realized I hadn't. I really enjoy this series and this book is no exception. In this book Falco is involved in a search for the Roman equivalent of a tabloid reporter who is supposed to be on holiday. The reader does a good job. I thought I had reviewed this book and realized I hadn't. I really enjoy this series and this book is no exception. In this book Falco is involved in a search for the Roman equivalent of a tabloid reporter who is supposed to be on holiday. The reader does a good job.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate Millin

    Falco is looking for a newspaper scandal writer in the port town of Ostia. He is joined by many members of his family - including a long lost uncle. He uncovers a kidnapping scam and has a number of adventures in his searches.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paul Daly

    The ever reliable Marcus Didius Falco and the usual crew of family, friends and enemies deliver marvelous entertainment yet again. Approaching the end of the series, I’ll be sorry to see them go, so I’m going to ration myself with the remaining books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    "Falco visits Petronius and his favourite brother-in-law, Gaius Baebius, at Ostia while on a missing person hunt for a vanished scribe. " Ok, somewhat slow moving for me. "Falco visits Petronius and his favourite brother-in-law, Gaius Baebius, at Ostia while on a missing person hunt for a vanished scribe. " Ok, somewhat slow moving for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Ostia is interesting, and the minor queer subplot is fairly well done, though also awkward.

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