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One Virgin Too Many (Marcus Didius Falco #11)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,778 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Falco is back from North Africa, with new-found respectability and a dead brother-in-law to cope with. Appointed to a post in the religious hierarchy, keeper of the city's sacred geese, Davis's imperial Roman sleuth soon finds himself caught up in the murder of a member of one of the sacred brotherhoods and the disappearance of the most likely new candidate for the order o ...more
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Century
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Favorite Mystery Series
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4 Star Historical Fiction
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Community Reviews

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Mar 23, 2010 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleventh in the series, and a very entertaining and informative installment. In this one Vespasian has made Falco, newly promoted to equestrian status, Procurator of the Sacred Poultry, overseer of the select fowls associated with certain first century Roman state rituals. This connects to a larger theme of this particular Falco book, a look at the rules, rites, and regulations associated with several of the "old religion" cults still maintained in Rome in 70 AD, and I find this topic fascinatin ...more
Pam Fleming
Mar 02, 2013 Pam Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
Falco and Helena are back in Rome after their adventures in North Africa, but there's little chance for them to settle down before trouble arrives in the form of a five year old girl who claims a member of her family is trying to kill her, and then promptly disappears.

I enjoyed this book much more than the previous one in the series. Falco was his usual snarky self and Helena a more than capable partner. I was a little disappointed not to see more of Maia's reaction to the death of her husband a
Feb 16, 2016 Rosalind rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once more we delve into the murkier side of 1st-century Rome with Marcus Didius Falco. The joy of reading Lindsey Davis's historical whodunnits is that she uses her extensive and deep research into the world of Vespasian's Rome – the period we know most about everyday Roman life because it's the decade before Vesuvius left a valuable snapshot – to bring the Roman Empire and its traditions alive. In a way that leaves a lesser role for the actual crime and its investigation, but that shouldn't be ...more
M.G. Mason
Aug 18, 2014 M.G. Mason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been almost two years since I read the previous book in the series so I am certainly overdue! One Virgin Too Many is the eleventh book in Davis' celebrated Falco series about a retired legionary setting himself up as a private detective in Vespasian's Rome. The series is funny, educational and clever as far as crime fiction goes and this is and always has been an enormous selling point for Davis, arguably a giant in the historical fiction world.

Following on immediately from Two For the Li
Simon Binning
May 04, 2016 Simon Binning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent addition to a great series. In this episode, Falco is gradually going up in the world; now more financially secure, with an official - though somewhat comic - official position, he is trying to build a more substantial life. He is still having to deal with various family problems, particularly following the death of his brother in law, and Helena is up to something.
He is visited by a young girl asking for his help, but turns her down, and comes to regret it. It turns out sh
Deborah Ideiosepius  omnivorous reader
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was an unexpected pleasure; I had never heard of the author when I picked this book up from a book sale.

The author must have a stupendous knowledge of Rome during the reign of Vespasian, the descriptions of the city, the temples and protocols, manners, dress and all other minutiae was fascinating.

Despite being a "#11" as I found out after reading it, I found the characters distinctive, the mystery interesting and the writing style lively and enjoyable.

I wil
One of the better books of the series, every one of which I've read, I have enjoyed.

Marcus Didius Falco is a wise-cracking informer (private detective), a kind of 1st century Spenser. In this story he has been moved up in class and is now the Procurator of the Sacred Poultry, a thankless position related to religious rituals. He's also lost his partner and has just returned from Africa where he was on a very distasteful assignment.

A young six year old girl, Gaia, shows up at his apartment and
Jan 16, 2009 bookczuk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
Ah--Marcus Didius Falco is back as the Procurator of Poultry, no less. But he doesn't let it get in the way of solving the puzzle presented...

Marcus Didius Falco, the cynical, hard-boiled investigator from the rough end of Rome, is back from a difficult mission in North Africa. As a result of his hard work, Emperor Vespasian awards Falco with the title of Procurator of Poultry for the Senate and People of Rome, or keeper of the city's sacred geese. Not much of a salary, of cou
Feb 10, 2013 Malcolm rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Marcus Didius Falco is the Sam Spade of imperial Rome; a wise-cracking, sharp eyed ‘informer’ (private eye) with a social conscience, strong moral core, muddled life and it just so happens married to Helena Justina, a senator’s daughter. In his 11th outing we find Falco unsettled by the disappearance of a 6 year old who tries to hire him because she fears that someone in her family is trying to kill her. The missing rejected client, Gaia Laelia, is from an austere priestly family and in the ball ...more
Falco and familia are back in Rome from northern Africa only a few weeks before the next corpse is stumbled over. This time it is Helena's "other brother," the surly, churlish one, Aelianus, who literally trips over the dead body. The gruesome discovery comes at the end of a day-long religious ceremony run by an ancient cult called the Arval Bretheren, who operate more like a supper club. Aelianus is trying to join the club/cult as a way to boost his career, which has suffered a recent, family-r ...more
Simon Mcleish
Mar 25, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in February 2001.

By the first century AD, many of the traditional observances of Roman religion must have seemed silly and irrelevant. They were appropriate to the small farming village hundreds of years in the past, so they are about things like making crops grow, not the concerns of the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the world. Nevertheless, this feeling would have been accompanied by a certain reverence, for the cult practices were relics of a time
Jamie Collins
It's always entertaining to spend time with Marcus Didius Falco in the Rome of the emperor Vespasian. Here Falco is trying to solve a murder, find a missing child, comfort his newly widowed sister, assist the career ambitions of Helena's brother (the one who doesn't like him), while managing his new responsibilities as Procurator of the Sacred Poultry.

We get some nice historical tidbits about the Flamen Dialis (the high priest of Jupiter who was forbidden to mount a horse, wear a knot anywhere o
Francesca Morelli
Aug 01, 2016 Francesca Morelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, storico, giallo
Premetto che è il primo libro di questa serie che leggo.
L'ho trovato apprezzabile, la storia, quella principale della bimba, l'ho trovata lunga,
inframmezzata dalla seconda storyline del libro che in alcuni punti più entusiasmante e più veloce della storia principale.
Mi piaciuto l'umorismo del protagonista, anche per sdrammatizzare alcune usanze orripilanti
in nome degli dei, come i sacrifici animali che mi ha dato più fastidio dello sgozzamento
del sacerdote.
La scrittura non rispecchia certo l'ep
Rosanne Lortz
May 23, 2011 Rosanne Lortz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In One Virgin Too Many, Vespasian rewards Marcus with middle class status at long last! Along with the new rank comes a new position, Procurator of the Sacred Poultry. The Didius family finds a source of endless laughter and derision as Marcus presides over every sacred festival as nanny to the honorable birds.

In this book, Lindsey Davis examines the mysterious cults at the heart of the old Roman religion. When Helena’s brother Aelianus tries to join the Arval Brethren–an exclusive society of co
Mar 31, 2013 Rosa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normalmente los libros de Marco Didio Falco tienen 5 estrellas casi garantizadas en mis crticas de Anobii. Soy una incondicional del mejor detective de la antigua Roma y del estilo de Lindsay Davis, pero en este caso, la traduccin es nefasta. Horrible. No tengo palabras para describirla. No slo est llena de fallos gramaticales gordsimos sino que sistemticamente y en el mismo prrafo, se confunden unos personajes con otros repetidas veces, con lo que tienes que estar muy pendiente y tratar de dedu ...more
Jan 27, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
Not my favorite Falco mystery but enjoyable, nevertheless. This time he is caught up in two mysteries - the "ritualized" death of a man at the annual festivities of men's brotherhood that honors arcane agricultural religious beliefs; and the disappearance of a young girl (age 6) who belongs to a family attached to the priesthood of the Temple of Jupiter and who might be chosen to join the Vestal Virgins. I actually learned something about the Vestals but sometimes the book just got bogged down i ...more
Oct 02, 2010 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-books-read
Marcus Didius Falco has finally been rewarded for his continually outstanding service to Vespasian. He's been raised to equestrian status and had been named Procurator of the Sacred Poultry. This has put him in a bit of quandary as his higher social standing precludes his work as a lowly informer. Or does it? In this installment, Falco is asked to assist in the sensitive case of the missing 6 year granddaughter of a retired priest. The missing girl is a potential Vestal Virgin and she must be fo ...more
Apr 27, 2013 M M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lindsey Davis's series about M. Didius Falco is a popular one. Intrigued by the blurb ('hilarious'), I picked up One Virgin Too Many. Falco, a shrewd investigator who scoffs at the middle-classes and yet is married to a decidedly patrician woman, is suddenly upwardly mobile (though not in the way his in-laws might consider all that). He has been appointed Keeper of the Emperor's Sacred Geese. Meanwhile, there are murders involving Vestal Virgins and his irritatingly supercilious brother-in-law, ...more
Mar 15, 2008 Rose added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am now at the eleventh book in the re-reading of the series. Helena and Falco are back in Rome and Falco has been promoted to Equestrian status and is now the Procurator of the Sacred Poultry.
This book concerns murder (of course) and vestal virgins.
Oct 20, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-historical
c1999: FWFTB: poultry, vestal, relation, kill, partner. This may not be the most flattering description of the book but whenever I start to read the Falco stories it is like slipping on a favourite pair of slippers. I know the characters, settings and pacing. I learn something from each book - this time it is about all the various cults and religions that were practised by Romans prior to the Christian onslaught. There are some great set pieces and even more development of the various characters ...more
May just as well admit it, story-wise "One Virgin Too Many" is second slight disappointment in a row. Just as in the preceding book, the plot is so elaborate and convoluted, but leads to an anti-climactic finale.

However, if the "whodunnit" in this book is a bit of a letdown, Davies writing is always entertaining and makes me chuckle. In this respect "One Virgin Too Many" was as strong as any other of previous books in this cycle. Also, I have only now realized how much history one learns from th
Jun 09, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very busy time right now for me and unfortunately that is why I have taken so long to read this... however, if I had the right amount of time, I think I would have finished it in a week. First Lindsey Davis' novel for me and I enjoyed it immensely. Reminded me so much of the entertainment provided by the Marcus Corvinus character of David Wishart's Roman thrillers. Marcus Didius Falco is a character which everyone should get to know... I loved Helena too and some of his other friends.. ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Geoff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
It's been some years since I read a Falco mystery and I'm trying to figure out why. These are pleasant, undemanding reads and (woo hoo) I have more than half of the series left to get through.
Mar 29, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYBODY
Recommended to Jessica by: I did
Shelves: mysteries, falco
Whew! I just finished it!!!! The best Falco yet! What can I say that won't give away all the juicy details...well, this go round we learn about some of the ancient religious cults that still held a firm grip on the life of Rome in 70 CE. The Flamens, the Vestal Virgins, and the Arval Brotherhood are three keepers of the sacred duties of Rome.

Speaking of sacred duties...ask Falco where you can find some good manure for your compost.

I can't wait for the next one!!!!

I'm running out of exclamation m
Steve Clark
I like this series best when it's set in and around Rome, as this one is. This one is interesting because it involves the strange priestly class of the flamens.
May 01, 2012 Yanaba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, this was the first book I properly read - excluded, a German translated copy of "Poseidon's Gold" I checked out because I couldn't wait for the next episode of the BBC7extra audio. It's good I knew some about the characters via said audios, otherwise, the whole setting would've been a bit too difficult to work with. That said, it was a good story, even though my background knowledge about Ancient Rome is thin and a bunch of things probably escaped my notice. Worth reading.
Harry Addington
Feb 05, 2014 Harry Addington rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More humor than usual. Nice to have it all set at home.
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Lindsey Davis, historical novelist, was born in Birmingham, England in 1949. Having taken a degree in English literature at Oxford University (Lady Margaret Hall), she became a civil servant. She left the civil service after 13 years, and when a romantic novel she had written was runner up for the 1985 Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize, she decided to become a writer, writing at first romanti ...more
More about Lindsey Davis...

Other Books in the Series

Marcus Didius Falco (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco, #1)
  • Shadows in Bronze (Marcus Didius Falco, #2)
  • Venus in Copper (Marcus Didius Falco, #3)
  • The Iron Hand of Mars (Marcus Didius Falco, #4)
  • Poseidon's Gold (Marcus Didius Falco, #5)
  • Last Act in Palmyra (Marcus Didius Falco, #6)
  • Time to Depart (Marcus Didius Falco, #7)
  • A Dying Light in Corduba (Marcus Didius Falco, #8)
  • Three Hands in the Fountain (Marcus Didius Falco, #9)
  • Two for the Lions (Marcus Didius Falco, #10)

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