The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis

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The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis

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Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Murder and mayhem in ancient Rome – and the writing is as funny, well-researched and enthralling as Ms Davis' fans have come to expect. Falco's adopted daughter Albia has a sense of humour as droll and witty as his, and like him she is utterly determined to solve crimes no matter what the cost.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
External links: [ Author's website]
ISBN: 9781473613393

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Our heroine Albia's grey-eyed and broad-shouldered love interest in this, the fourth of the Falco New Generation crime novels (Falco himself has got on the wrong side of Emperor Domitian, and has very sensibly retired to the coast) is called Manlius – that alone should be enough to tell you reams about the wickedly sly sense of humour Ms Davis displays in her novels. The setting is once again Ancient Rome, and Ms Davis provides enough local colour to create a world so convincing you could almost be there. In fact, the descriptions are so vivid that, as you pull in your skirts or bewail the fate of your brand-new sandals to follow our gutsy heroine into not-so-picturesque slums like the Brown Toad bar or Mucky Mule Mews, you could be forgiven for suspecting you've wandered into somewhere far more familiar, like, say, the back streets of Brum.

There's even more of a sense of urgency in this story than usual: in eight days' time Albia, despite her misgivings about the marital state, is due to wed the aforesaid Manlius. To Albia's mind no one can possibly be this happy: with the dry-as-dust wit she's picked up from Dad she assures us at frequent intervals that something is bound to snap. Mind you, the lady has a point: after her refusal to be involved in organising anything remotely romantic or girly Manlius somewhat rashly placed all the arrangements for the wedding in the hands of her two sisters, who at sixteen and fourteen know all about these things... or think they do. Add to this the lurking presence of Manlius' interfering ex-wife and a plethora of stroppy in-laws, not to mention a new house Albia hasn't yet seen, and life is more than usually hectic. Of course, all that's before human bones are discovered in the back yard of the down-at-heel bar which Manlius is renovating. Are they the bones of an over-bossy barmaid, murdered (according to legend) by the landlord? As Albia picks her way through the lies and the truths provided by a colourful cast of builders, slaves, grannies and good-time girls, it's hard to fault her utter certainty that anything that can go wrong will without a doubt do so.

You know, if you haven't met Falco or his daughter before, you have a couple of dozen treats in store. Bookbag thoroughly enjoyed Alexandria and, for another view of Ancient Rome, Master and God but why don't you go back to the very beginning and read the lot? You'll end up feeling you're practically a member of the family (not necessarily an unalloyed pleasure), you'll be familiar with every alley and greasy-spoon in Rome, and you'll have chuckled your cares away. Besides, who could resist an author who, along with the usual headings for books and biographies (her own and her beloved Falco's) on her website, has one called simply 'rants'? Definitely advised reading, especially if you have vague thoughts of writing to inform her that she may have made the teensiest of mistakes on line something of page whatever. Seriously – unless you have a death wish, let it go!

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Buy The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis at


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