The Ides of AprilLarge Print - 2013
Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina. From her mother, she learned how to blend in at all levels of society; from her father, she learned the tricks of their mutual professional trade. But her wits and (frequently) sharp tongue are hers alone.
Now, working as a private informer in Rome during the reign of Domitian, Flavia has taken over her father's old ramshackle digs at Fountain Court in the Surbura district, where she plies her trade with energy, determination, and the usual Falco luck. Recently hired to help investigate a fatal accident, she finds herself stuck with a truly awful person for a client and facing a well-heeled, well-connected opponent.
That is, until her client unexpectedly dies under what might be called "suspicious circumstances." While this is not a huge loss for society, it is a loss for Flavia Albia's pocket. Even worse, it's just one of a series of similar deaths for which she now finds herself under suspicion. Before things go from abysmal to worse, Flavia must sort out what is happening, and who is responsible.
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. . . I had spent my childhood a thousand miles from Rome, in a backwoods town that had been laid waste in a revolt and still lacked interesting architecture; when an effort has been made to build something unusual, I pay polite attention.
My two romantic little sisters believed that being so carefully dressed up as I was that afternoon guaranteed that you would meet the love of your life. Not today, apparently.
We were jostled on our own streets by visitors who seemed to have no sense that they had invaded our ground. Why do tourists never allow space to other people on pavements? Why are they so loud, why be such disrespectful idiots? Do they all leave their brains at home, sitting on a shelf with their good manners, when they pack their travel bags?
He has a long history of behaviour problems. Being reprimanded has no effect. He never admits he has done anything wrong. If forced, he blames other people; once you know him, you can watch his cunning brain devising excuses as he wriggles.
Stirring wall frescos showed heroes shedding the blood of monsters, watched by vacuous maidens, in various rocky locations: the sort of lurid adventure people suppose takes place abroad. I had been abroad, and knew otherwise.
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