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(Marcus Didius Falco #19)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,386 ratings  ·  213 reviews
In first century A.D. Rome, during the reign of Vespasian, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private “informer,” often for the emperor, ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations with their wives, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, with others in tow, travel to Alexandria, Egypt. But they aren’t there long
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published February 5th 2009)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  2,386 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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Assaph Mehr
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roman-detectives
On another family vacation, Falco visits the famous library.

Expect a humorous review of academic life amidst the usual murders and family complications.

Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps; Falco's family life has evolved throughout the series, and play a big part in describing daily lives and plot points.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia: A story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic - for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fan
Faith Justice
Lindsey Davis is well known for her Marcus Didius Falco historical mysteries and this one is number nineteen in the series. From the back cover:

"In A. D. 77 Marcus Didius Falco, private “informer” and stalwart Roman citizen, undertakes one of the most fearsome tasks known to man—he goes on vacation with his somewhat pregnant wife, Helena Justina, and their family. They travel to Alexandria, Egypt, and they aren’t there long before the Librarian of the great library is found dead under suspicious
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
It is always a pleasure to go traipsing about the ancient Roman Empire with Marcus Didius Falco and his partner in life and detection, Helena Justina. This time, we're all in Alexandria because Helena Justina wants to see the Great Pyramid of Giza before she gives birth to their third child.

Of course, where Falco goes, mysterious deaths seem to follow and so it is in Alexandria, even in the halls of the Great Library. In fact, the first one to die is the librarian - but not the last. There seems
Simon Binning
Marcus Didius Falco is on a family holiday again; this time in Alexandria. I say holiday, but as usual, things don't go entirely to plan. It's not long before he gets involved in the murky world surrounding the famous library, and it's somewhat isolated and eccentric staff.
I will say straightaway, that the Falco books which are set away from Rome can be a little formulaic. It can seem that the author changes the location to show off her latest research about a place or event, and this has led on
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Falco fans, Lindsey Davies fans, crime and mystery fans
I am a big fan of Falco and Lindsey Davis' mystery novel set in Roman times. However, I do not think this was one of my favourite books of the series. It had such a promising premise - library, Alexandria, Egypt .. but the story seemed kind of flat at some point. Nevertheless, the characters make up for the story and I love the wit gently offered by Falco's wife Helena Justina. I also like her brother Aulus and Marcus' and Helena's adopted daughter - Albia, although I wish her character had a bi ...more
Sylvia McIvers
I like historical fiction, and the Roman empire, but when this turned into a locked-room mystery I gave up. The significance between Roman vs Egyptian locks looked like it would take up too much page space.
Michelle Kemp
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great story
Ele Munjeli
Sep 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Something different. It has been awhile since I read a mystery, but I have always enjoyed them, working my way through Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle when I was still a child. I was lured to read the work of Lindsey Davis by a review at Barnes and Noble. Her work is set in ancient Rome, and well researched. I am always game for exotic locales and history. The gumshoe of her novels is Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman citizen and informer for the emperor. Set in A.D. 77 there are a few discrep ...more
Eileen Thornton
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Eileen by: I was sent an advance copy for review purposes
by Lindsey Davis (Century)

Set in Roman times the story tells how Marcus Didius Falco, the Emperor’s fixer, and his wife Helena Justina, who is expecting their next child, visit Falco’s Uncle in Alexandria. Helena is anxious to see two of the Seven Wonders of the World. However, almost as soon as they arrive, there is a suspicious death in the Great Library and Falco is asked investigate. During the investigation another body is found.

I found this to be a very exciting ‘who dunnit’. Li
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Probably just me, but I found book 19 a trifle bit tired compared to earlier books in the series. Or maybe I'm ready, like Falco, to get back to Rome and the familiar faces there.

Still a great read, especially for those of us who work in libraries and can get vicarious laughs at the all too familiar trials and tribulations of librarians working at the Library of Alexandria. And yes, like one of the previous reviewers, I was definitely getting Hitchcockian vibes when Falco pursues one suspect to
Kathleen (itpdx)
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This is one Davis's better books in this series (Marcos Didius Falco). There is lots of action and humor and Marcos' wife contributes her brains and style to the investigations. This one is set in Alexandria, Egypt about 77CE with the action centering on the Museon, an institution of learning including the great library. Davis fills us in on the scene without being too obvious. The conflicts and jealousies of an institution of higher learning sound familiar to the 21st century minus the murders ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you got the scrolls? No, I always walk like this.

Stopping off at Alexandria to gawp at its legendary Lighthouse on their way to visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza our sightseeing Roman gum-sandaled protagonist Marcus Didius Falco, his pregnant wife and partner in crime-solving Helena Justina and their family are forced to delay their travel plans due to the suspicious death of the Chief Librarian at the Great Library. Drafted in by Egypt’s Prefect to solve the case (his reputation as Empero
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
It looks as if I’m almost finished with the Falco series and I’m already in mourning. In this book Falco and Helena Justina are taking a family vacation before Helena delivers their 3rd child. She has always wanted to see the Egyptian pyramids and an invitation from Falco’s uncle (‘he who is not discussed’) gives them a good excuse to visit Alexandria and it’s great library. Once there, the pyramid trip must be postponed as Falco is drawn into investigating a mysterious death, in this case the l ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn’t particularly enjoy this, but I think it was good? There were more characters than I was able to keep track of well, and I didn’t find them particularly compelling. It was an interesting plot in an interesting setting, but that wasn’t really enough for me. The narrative voice was a little too much.
Sue Law
Another well paced Falco mystery.
Falco and family are in Alexandria on holiday (Helena wants to see the pyramids and the sphinx). Nobody believes him, everybody assumes he is investigating corruption for Vespasian. So when a body turns up in the library, the Prefect assumes he can just use Falco to investigate.
I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'd re-read it, so only 3 stars.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
This was my first experience of this series, and I loved it. A fast moving mystery set in Ancient Roman times - in the vibrant Egyptian city of Alexandria. You'll love Marcus Didius Falco’s constant, sardonic wit and insights into the human condition, as he becomes the official ‘investigator’ of the murder of the Librarian.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Falco and family are visiting Alexandria (Egypt), a city which was very "Roman" at that time, though Falco also has some Emperor-business to do.
Realistic and mostly likeable characters in an interesting story for the most part but somehow for me the later books lack the witty humour and "grip" of the early novels.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rome
As is common in the latter books of Davis' Falco series, the initial mystery turns out not to be just the lead in to the real mystery. But the characters are complex, the action is fast paced, and all the loose ends are tied up. Helena Justina plays a significant and satisfying role, and the wrap-up of the main mystery involves several thrilling chases.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Didius, his beloved Helena, and their daughters are visiting Alexandria, Egypt. Naturally, people die (murder? accident?) I love this literary couple. Their family life is realistic and the historical descriptions ring true.

My parents enjoyed Didius Falco. It was like having them back to read about him having another adventure.
Jemima Pett
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a new destination for Falco and family (and lovely to see young Alba beginning to get into character!). The plot was tortuous as usual, but I did drift off occasionally - I think I found the third party narrative of what witnesses said a little tedious. Full review to follow.
Steve Coughlan
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-roman
I've been away from Falco for some time, and vaguely missing him, And now I'm so glad to be back... this book was really enjoyable, and an excellent reminder of why I love this series... history, culture, humor, and a cozy mystery all perfectly packaged together.
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of the better Marcus Falco mysteries. Set in Roman occupied Egypt, it centers around the academic feuds in the library at Alexandria as Marcus and his family tour the wonders of the world. The Pharos lighthouse plays a major part in the plot.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lindsey-davis
As things start, it feels like there is a space between the previous story and where this one begins. Overall a good story, with its moves and motions to areas no before explored in other Falco adventures. A very good read.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mexico, fiction, own
A modern day police detective murder drama taking place in ancient times. Hated it, every bit of it, A new York Times Bestseller HA I wonder what the publisher has to pay to get that put on the cover. This was not the first time I wondered so.
Fred Langridge
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Falco books benefit from being read pretty quickly, and life didn't allow that this time round! It's entertaining and comfortable, though, as expected.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very witty. Good mystery. Many anachronisms.
David Samuels
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF @ 40%

The mystery really plays a lesser role in this book. It focuses more on Falco's family on their "vacation", which didn't interest me at all.
Heather Henderson
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of one of my favourite authors.
Dennis Humphries
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Very good read. Good characters, fine, tight plot, well told. Very enjoyable. A good, well paced who done it. Highly recommend.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, read-2018
Pretty entertaining, and though the mysteries are fairly daft, the sense of place is great.
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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

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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