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The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  6,113 ratings  ·  422 reviews
When Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer" who has a nose for trouble that's sharper than most, encounters Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately all is not right with the pretty girl. She confesses to him that she is fleeing for her life, and Falco makes the rash decision to rescue her--a decision he will come to regret. For Sosia bears a heavy burden: as
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published 1989)
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Aug 23, 2012 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction & mystery fans
Recommended to Terence by: Impulse checkout @ library
The Silver Pigs is fun to read. And if you're looking to read to relax, there's no better praise.

As I mentioned in my comment, the voice and tone reminded me of Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series sans the fantasy element. Even more strongly, I'm reminded of a Roman Rockford Files, which may be brilliantly illuminative to those of a certain age or who have a taste for '70s detective shows. For the rest, you can wiki it and then hunt down copies of the episodes (which stream on Netflix).

But I'm digr
Wow, I really liked this! It's very accessible; you can enjoy it even if you don't know a thing about the history of Ancient Rome. The author supplies historical details smoothly without lecturing the reader.

The mystery itself wasn't especially gripping, but the story was fast-paced, with truly likeable characters and great dialogue. I started snickering at the dramatis personae and continued to be amused all the way through the book.

There are frequent, oddly placed paragraph breaks, which make
I first encountered Marcus Didius Falco in a short story in Classical Whodunits, many years ago. At the time I was more interested in the late Roman Republic, so I was more drawn to the Steven Saylor mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder, contemporary of Cicero and Julius Caesar and the significant events of that era. I later rediscovered Falco through audiobook versions of "A Body in the Bath House" and "The Jupiter Myth," which occur much later in the series. "The Silver Pigs" is the debut ...more
Oh - where do I start? A private eye series set in ancient Rome. This is the first one - I won't add all the books individually, there are (I think) 18 by now, but it's set in Rome in 70AD, the hero is Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman 'informer'.... and his friends, and his over the top family, and his lady, Helena Justina, the senator's daughter, way out of his league but that doesn't stop them, lol, and HER family... They are my favourite ancient Roman couple Evah. There is adventure all over the ...more
Ben Babcock
I read some series like River Song travels with the Doctor: out of order. I’ve dipped and dallied with various books in the Falco series, but most recently I read Venus in Copper before going back to the source, Falco #1: The Silver Pigs. Here we meet Lindsey Davis’ private eye: Marcus Didius Falco, an informer in the first-century Roman empire. Falco is constantly on the hunt for new clients and new income, lest his greedy landlord send some gladiators around to bust his kneecaps (and other, m ...more
Not bad, but it has some flaws. The book has a good pace and several charismatic characters. Plus the emperor and caesars have an original (but don't know if realistic) psychological portrait.
The bad part, for me, has to do with the writing. I cannot say that Davis can't write, but she has problems with the order of exposition (she puts the horse before the cart, making you think you've lost something you can't find running through previous pages, just to let you discover that it's the conclusi
Karin Slaughter
This is the first Davis I read and I loved it. My pal (and fellow author) Fidelis Morgan suggested I give it a try because I couldn't think of a book that wrote about a successful relationship in an interesting way. I have to say that Fidelis was right. Falco and Helene are very solid in their love for one another, but they disagree and argue and do all the usual things couples do without cutting too deep when they disagree. I think that's the key to a relationship (haha, and a sign that it migh ...more
Nov 02, 2012 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Terence, Jamie and others
Ah to be Rome surronded by naked people!

Which isn't quite what happens to Marcus Didius Falco; he does seem to get surronded by women an awful lot.

This is actually a quite funny, sometimes touching, and very good novel. Falco must solve the mystery of the pigs (which are really silver and not pig shaped at all) while dealing with his mother and various others.

Lou Robinson
Despite the slightly strange first person writing style, I really enjoyed this book. It introduces Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer just about surviving in Rome at the time of the emperor Vespasian. It's fast paced and has all the elements of a novel to keep you entertained, bit of romance, crime, travel... I'll certainly be picking up the next Falco story.
When a Philip-Marlowe like character becomes the narrator of events that take place in Ancient Rome, you get Lindsey Davis! The research is excellent, the stories are fascinating, the historical truth is respected and… a sort of hard boiled detective investigates. Probably one of the best historical novels, along with Sharan Newman, on the market.
Stuff I Read - Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis Review

So I picked this up because I'm interested in Rome and like mysteries. It makes sense, really, because this is the first book in a long series of ancient Rome-based mysteries. And in that it's rather fascinating, fun, all of that. It seems well researched, and it's well written enough that I kept on reading despite a rocky beginning. It's just a little difficult for me to rate it, because while it might be reflecting the values of ancient Rome, I
M.G. Mason
This is the first in a highly successful series of historical crime novels set in First Century Rome. At the end of the year of the four Emperors, Marcus Didius Falco, an informer by trade (essentially a private detective) has the unfortunate honour of stumbling upon a conspiracy to trade silver ingots (pigs) on the black market. When the young girl who brought it to his attention is killed, Falco is hired by her father to find the killer and simultaneously hired by Emperor Vespasian to unravel ...more
Melissa Proffitt
The re-release of this book has to have been edited, because when I read it the first time (in the first American edition) I was put off by the numerous syntax errors and confusing transitions that seem to have vanished. But even then, there was something charming about it, probably the things Davis refers to in the introduction to this edition: Falco would be a hardboiled detective in the Sam Spade tradition if not for his numerous relatives and what in this volume is the beginning of a long-te ...more
Cheryl A
According to the book jacket blurb, Marcus Didius Falco is the Roman Empire's Philip Marlowe. Although I would not go that far, this debut novel by Lindsey Davis does give us a likeable private informer - streetwise, anti-establishment, wicked sense of humor. I would more likely compare Falco with Rockford myself.

The novel opens with a beautiful young girl literally running into our hero on the steps of the Forum. Sosia Camillina, the niece of a respected senator, is being chased by two hoodlums
I really wanted to love the Silver Pigs by Lindsay Davis. It is a historical mystery, set in Ancient Rome. Marcus Didius Falco is a poverty-stricken, irreverent, wisecracking “informer” (some kind of private detective?) whose quips mask a painful past and a strong moral sense. He is an exceedingly engaging character and I would not mind reading about him again.

One day he runs into a beautiful teenaged girl, Sosia, fleeing from her abductors. By rescuing her he gets himself involved in the thwart
This definitely makes the cut as one of my all time favorites. Though there are quite a few out there in the 'Ancient Roman P.I. mystery' genre, the Falco books are particularly charming, with their well-researched history couched in very modern language. The juxtaposition works--and what is more, Marcus Didius Falco is a deeply likable character. Wise-cracking P.I. (private informer, that is) he may be, but he's also very honorable and incredibly courageous. There aren't many heroes out there w ...more
First in the series. Rollicking fun with Rome's Sam Spade and his lady love. Darned good history too. Ms. Davis does her homework. Really brings ancient Rome, and other parts of the empire, to life--this one takes us to dank, dark, cold, dreary Britain. Decent mysteries too, but the focus here is more on life in Rome and our man, Marcus Didius Falco's cynical but honorable, wisecracking personality. This series is enormous fun! The books should be read in order, though, as Falco's family life ev ...more
Time and again, Gatiss was brought to mind, he of The Vesuvius Club. There was a similar voice in Lindsey Davis' narrative style, one which I very much enjoy. The dry wit, the unapologetic snark. Love it.

In terms of story, I've come to realize that although I enjoy the development of a mystery, I've never actually tried to solve one. I've sometimes come across friends who will comment, "Oh, I could see it would be (this, that, or the other) right away." I have to, then, stop and wonder if I'd c

Though don't misunderstand me. I like my women in a few wisps of drapery: then I can hope for a chance to remove the wisps. If they start out with nothing I tend to get depressed because either they have just stripped off for someone else or, in my line of work, they are usually dead.

If you know anything about temples you will realize they have a single imposing entrance at the front. If you know anything about priests, you will have noticed they usually have a discreet little door for themselve
Christine Blachford
Plot: Set in Rome – AD 70. Marcus Didius Falco bumps into a beautiful young girl and the next thing he knows, she has been murdered. Being of the private investigative sort, he begins to unravel a huge plot that leads him through Rome, to Britain and back, to a meeting with his high and mighty himself, the emperor.

Characters: Marcus is a nice little character, he lives on his own and is fond of women but takes care of his mother and his family as well. He spends three months as a slave in the mi
Listened to the audiobook narrated by Christian Rodska - superb narration, really flavorful British accents throughout and brought all the characters to life.

The story is fast paced and involves a detailed plot of embezzlement, murder, and class politics. Out hero, Falco, appears quite rough around the edges and of low character when we first meet him, but don't be put off-this is as much a story about the internal life and evolution of Falco as it is about government intrigue.
Lillian Carl
This is the first book in Davis' Marcus Didius Falco series, set in what seems to me to be
an authentic version of ancient Rome and Britain. Falco is a private investigator (not that
he calls himself that) who falls into a complicated plot involving financial shenanigans and
murder that leads him (much to his dismay and disgust) right up into the imperial palace.

At first I found Falco's very contemporary, Sam-Spade style, voice hard to reconcile with
the setting. But why not? The Romans' Latin w
Great mysteries set in Imperial Rome. The whole series (18+?)is worth reading, with some books better than others. The Roman Empire provides a great setting, with adventures ranging from Spain to Syria and North Africa to Britian, with the capitol of it all - Rome, as a center piece. The characters, especially Falco's families, provide great comic relief in these light readers.
Jeff Powers
Take Raymond Chandler and get him hooked on history and this probably would have been the result. The Silver Pigs is an enjoyable mashup of the noirish private eye tales with a historical Roman empire setting. The modern feel of the characters can be a bit jarring at times and author, Davis, hardly strays from the pulp crime novel clichés, but the unique setting and its politics make it more intriguing. The book would have been amazing had it truly felt like Rome. Don't get me wrong, the descrip ...more
Kaye Gambles
What an interesting character and a very different type of book to many I have encountered before. The complete antithesis of Lord Peter Wimsey, and certainly very different to a certain Matthew Shardlake.

Short chapters, always a good sign. Loveable characters and an insight into Rome and the Empire.

Marcus Didius Falco tells us the story in his own words which sometimes can be very amusing lines like, 'I winked at him, then looked away in case he should get the wrong idea...'

There are laugh out
Very enjoyable mystery novel set in ancient Rome shortly after the Year of Four Emperors. Good plot, very good character development, excellent description and dialogue. Ending was a little rushed for my taste. I've found four or five other books in the series, and I look forward to reading them.
Eileen Charbonneau
Aug 14, 2007 Eileen Charbonneau rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history mystery lovers
Run don't walk to your local bookseller and start this fantastic series of first century Rome detective Marcus Falco. He will win your heart and his nutty family and associats will continue to delight through many adventures.
It makes perfect sense to me that Rome would have at least one hard-boiled detective. Really enjoyed this, and am ready to dive into the next one.
Tom Meyer
Fun characters, a solid mystery, and a very convincing setting in early Imperial Rome. Very much looking forward to the sequels.
Rachel Hawes
The one with the lead mines, Domitian's faux pas, the conspiracy and the smoky arrival of Helena Justina.
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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...
Shadows in Bronze (Marcus Didius Falco, #2) The Iron Hand of Mars (Marcus Didius Falco, #4) Venus in Copper (Marcus Didius Falco, #3) Poseidon's Gold (Marcus Didius Falco, #5) Last Act in Palmyra (Marcus Didius Falco, #6)

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“I like my women in a few wisps of drapery: then I can hope for a chance to remove the wisps. If they start out with nothing I tend to get depressed because either they have just stripped off for someone else or, in my line of work, they are usually dead.” 1 likes
“In my experience, men who sit in corners are the ones to watch.” 0 likes
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