Rose's Reviews > Alexandria

Alexandria by Lindsey Davis
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's review
Mar 29, 2010

really liked it
Read in October, 2009

Let me use this post here to extol the many virtues of Lindsey Davis's mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco. Our lead detective, Falco, is in fact an "informer" in ancient Rome during the reign of Vespasian (1st Century AD), making these mysteries really unique in their setting. Well-researched and historically accurate, they have been my window into the customs and rituals of ancient Rome. Like so many books, they've helped me fill a gap in my education and introduce me to a period in history about which I previously knew nothing. Moreover, through her lively, entertaining, and witty characters and prose, Davis breathes real life into the times. Perhaps my favorite character in the books is Falco's wife, Helena Justina, who is a smart, capable, well-read, and clever woman. A real treat of a female lead.

A quick survey of the dust jacket reveals that Alexandria is the 19th book in the Falco series. Now, I've hardly read that many of them, having only caught a few here or there when browsing the mystery section at my local library. But for the 19th installment, I found Alexandria as fresh and witty as the first, The Silver Pigs (also excellent). Here, Falco and family travel abroad to Egypt and are quickly caught up in the investigation into the death of the Head Librarian at the Great Library. Was it suicide? Murder? The suspects are the movers and shakers in the academic community, the director of the Museion, the head of a sister library, a prominent lawyer, and the chief philosopher, astronomer, zoologist, and linguist. Add an escaped crocodile, and danger abounds. Alexandria is an entertaining installment, made all the more fun to me for it's lighthearted caricatures of the academic elite.


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