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Alexandria (Marcus Didius Falco #19)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,015 Ratings  ·  178 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 be ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published February 5th 2009)
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Assaph Mehr
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Ele Munjeli
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own_audiobook
My favorite one yet
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 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-rome, mystery
Falco and family are up to their typical antics, this time while visiting the impressive library complex in Alexandria. He is there visiting Uncle Fluvius (the one no one ever talks about) which may or may not turn out to be a good thing. When certain relatives and old friends show up unexpectedly, you know unpleasant things are about to start happening.
But the real question is: Will Helena ever get to tour the Great Pyramid?
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eigentlich wollte Marcus Didius Falco nur Urlaub machen. Helena Justina ist im 5ten Monat schwanger und wenn sie die Pyramiden von Gize nicht jetzt besuchen, sitzen sie wieder 3 Jahre in Rom fest, bis Kind Nr. 3 aus dem gröbsten raus ist. Also ziehen Marcus, Helene, ihre Adoptivtochter Albia, deren Bruder Aulus und die zwei jüngsten Sprösslinge bei Marcus Onkel ein, der zurfällig in Alexandria lebt. Marcus Onkel Fulvius lebt mit seinem Lebenspartner in einem großen Haus und verdient sein Geld mi ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Poor Falco! He cannot even take a holiday with his pregnant wife and extended family to see the pyramids without encountering murder and mystery on the way. Alexandria, the greatest seat of learning and the repository of all knowledge in the ancient world is ripe for petty jealousies and intellectual rivalries to be escalated out of sensible bounds. Falco's position as an agent of Vespasian gives everyone an expectation that he will solve the murder, the presence of his dodgy antique dealing fat ...more
Brian V
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Well, I'm pleased to have finally finished this one. I thought it seemed sooo appealing, being set in Alexandria, with recounting of stories about the Pharos and other entertainments. However, I have to say it was a real grind. Not helped by the attraction of Charlaine Harris's books mounting up at the library waiting for me!
So, the best bit, for me, was in the last 10 pages, where we are introduced to a new character, which strikes me as moderately bizarre. Tis Hero of course - seems like Ms D
Mar 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 h ...more
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i realized that this book is not exactly a mystery novel,,as it was advertised in my area.
overall,,the narration was from a male point of view,so it lacks focus and this annoys me very much. the character would go wondering off telling you about the history and facts of the monuments nearby,tell you about how disadvantaged he was by not having a father to introduce him to a better job, and how he got to alexandria for an innocent sight seeing and landed in unnecessary,,all this during a possibly
Julie Johnson
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how I love a good Lindsey Davis Falco mystery!

I have read almost every book in this series and have generally loved them all. Falco is so witty, the plots are clever, the details of Ancient Rome never dull, and oh-so colourful. Rome and the ancient world literally comes alive in all its bawdiness, glory, rich in political shenanigans etc. Davis is also such a good writer, it never comes across as a history lesson or dry description. And Falco is such a fantastic character, surely one of the
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This in a novel that takes place at one of the seven wonders of the World. The Lighthouse and the famous Library of Alexandria. The hero Marcus Didio Falco an investigator of propery and accounts for the Roman emporer, Vespesian in 77 AD takes his family on a vaction to Egypt where the will reside for their vacation in Alexandria. His welcome is mixed as Egyptians in larger numbers hate their Romans rulers and Marcus is greeted tongue in cheeck.

Marcus carries the protection of the Emporer so tha
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
OK, my last book on Goodreads was Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, arguably one of the 100 best literary works of the 20th century, so comparison isn't fair. I picked this one up because I knew Lindsey Davis is pretty careful about the historical detail she chooses to emphasize in her murder mysteries, and I wanted to know what ancient Alexandria might have looked like. Her descriptions didn't help much, but there was a (largely conjectural) map. The story itself was just OK, but I have to give her ...more
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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 before Falco finds himself in the midst of nefarious doings—when the Librarian of the great library is found dead, under suspic ...more
I picked this up not knowing it was part of a series, but as it turns out, it can be read as a stand-alone novel without any need to refer back to previous installments. It's a fairly standard murder mystery, with the twist/fresh element coming from the fact that it is set in the first century AD, in this case 77 AD to be precise. Of course, that means there is no modern forensic science or technology to go on - although the location of the mystery in Alexandria, with the great Library and its s ...more
SLJ review:

Adult/High School—This is the 17th entry in Davis's popular series about a Roman private "informer" (read private investigator). He normally works for the emperor, but while on vacation in Egypt with his family, Falco is pressed into service as the lead investigator in a high-profile case. The head librarian at Alexandria has been found dead, and all indications suggest murder. The mystery is of the cozy whodunit type with plenty of false trails and suspects galore, clever repartee, a
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nineteenth in this series, and this time around our first century Roman informer (detective)Falco is on a family vacation visiting Uncle Fulvius in Alexandria when there is an unusual death of a high ranking official at the legendary Great Library. As the intrigue deepens, Falco and wife Helena and brother-in-law Aelianus are called upon to help solve the mystery, which includes a power struggle for library philosophy on what to include in its holdings, an international smuggling ring with possi ...more
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Lindsey Davis's Falco books, even though the writing can be a bit sketchy at times, and the character/voice of Falco is not 100% consistent. However, if you love Romans and murder mysteries (as I do) then this is definitely the series for you.

Falco is an informer, which for all intents and purposes is like a private detective in later fiction. He has an upper-class wife, delightful (and naughty children), and a whole host of connections from imperial dignitaries to all sorts of low-life
David Peters
Why I read It
This is book 19 in the Falco series. Marcus Didius Falco is a private informer (Investigator) in Ancient Rome and these books take him through the cases that seem to find him. Originally read book 1, The Silver Pigs, because it was a mystery book by an English woman author.

The Good
Funny as always, Falco builds his case though luck, wisdom, and just plain stubbornness. Falco is self depreciating, somewhat street wise, and a really likeable character. In fact, all the characters are i
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobooks
An interesting combo of historic fiction and mystery. The protagonist is Marcus Didius Falco who is traveling to Alexandria to visit some of the Egyptian sites with his family. On his 'must see' list are the usual wonders of the ancient world (Lighthouse at Alexandria and the Pyramids at Giza)as well as the library of Alexandria. But Falco's vacation plans take a drastic change when the head librarian is found dead. As Falco starts investigating the death, other minor characters start dropping l ...more
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh joy, to read another Falco mystery. Oh sad, to have to wait until way next year to get the next one. This one takes us to the scandal-ridden Great Library of Alexandria, once glorious, now incompetently led by nasty infighting bureaucrats. Deaths and possible murders happen. Falco is there on vacation, but is drawn into the investigation. Illegal autopsies occur. Enormous crocodiles chomp. Heart-pounding excitement ensues at the Great Lighthouse. Odd characters delight, awful relatives annoy, ...more
Boulder Boulderson
I've been reading Falco books on and off since childhood, and always delighting in the scenes of Roman life and the wily detective's crime-solving. A few years ago however I managed to get my hands on all of the first 12, maybe 15 books, in order, and ploughed through them rapidly. I'm sorry to say that, though they initially increase in quality, for me, this leveled off around book 8 and then by the end of the ones I had, was declining rapidly.

I'm pleased to say that the trend has reversed. Thi
Candy Wood
Even though by this time he's happily married, a paterfamilias with two little daughters, Marcus Didius Falco still reminds me of Rex Stout's Archie Goodwin in his breezy narrative tone. This time he and the whole family, including adopted teenage daughter Albia, are sightseeing in Alexandria, home of the famous library and the Pharos, both scenes of suspicious or violent death. As usual in this series, we have action, humor, and the everyday life of the first-century Roman empire. The familiar ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of ancient history and have read many books in this series. I would recommend reading them in order all thought it is not necessary. Didius marries a smart upper class woman at the beginning, so you see his family grow over time. His wife is his partner in solving crimes and maybe better at some aspects than he is. Reading a Didius Falco mystery is like going on vacation in interesting places all over the Roman empire. I love the details about what life was like, how and what they ate ...more
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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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“Have any sheep been seen walking out of the Library with seagoing adventurers clinging to their wool?” 1 likes
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