Rosanne Lortz's Reviews > Three Hands in the Fountain

Three Hands in the Fountain by Lindsey Davis
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's review
May 23, 2011

it was amazing
Read in May, 2011

In Three Hands in the Fountain, Marcus returns to Rome to find out that his longtime friend Petronius Longus has been thrown out of his home–his affair with Balbina Milvia (daughter of the mob boss our boys tracked down in Time to Depart) has become public knowledge and Arria Silvia can endure the humiliation no longer. As painful as this domestic situation is, there are even more horrific doings afoot in the capital of the world. Human body parts–hands, feet, heads–have been showing up in the water supply all around the city, and the mutilated torsos that belong to these appendages are drifting down the Tiber. These “festival fancies”, as Marcus’ crass brother-in-law Lollius terms them, only show up during and around the time of the games (spectacles of gladiator fights and chariot racing that occur approximately three times a year). As he investigates, Marcus discovers that these festival fancies have been appearing for years. He is dealing with a maniacal serial killer, one who preys on pretty young women in public places. When Claudia Rufina, the Baetican heiress betrothed to Helena Justina’s brother Aelianus, vanishes, the quest for the killer becomes personal. Can Marcus find the killer before he does away with Claudia?

In Three Hands in the Fountain, Lindsey Davis provides a brilliant description of the Roman water supply, the interconnectedness of the aqueducts, and their sources up in the hills outside the city. She also hits just the right note in describing the Roman enthusiasm for sport. Marcus standing up in the chariot arena screaming for the Blues (while Helena Justina rolls her eyes and adjusts his seat cushion), is the perfect parallel to the modern football enthusiast and his longsuffering wife. This book–with its serial killer suspense–was one of the most exciting Falco novels in the whole set. Hard to put down, indeed.
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