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The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,919 Ratings  ·  614 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
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ebook, 352 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published 1989)
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Mary Beth Well, I read it as a young teenager and enjoyed it a great deal. There's some sexual innuendo, but absolutely nothing graphic. (If anything, it's a…moreWell, I read it as a young teenager and enjoyed it a great deal. There's some sexual innuendo, but absolutely nothing graphic. (If anything, it's a bit coy.) I remember finding passages about the plight of slaves in a mine rather upsetting, but things work out OK for the protagonist. The biggest stumbling block might be the complicated political machinations of the plot, but if the reader in question enjoys that sort of thing and has a dry sense of humor, I think this might be a fun read for her. In any event, Davis does a great job with the setting—the details are vivid, and the politics of ancient Rome factor heavily into the mystery—so it should be good on that score.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Terence
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
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aPriL does feral sometimes
'Silver Pigs' begins at a run and it really doesn't let up. Marcus Didius Falco, a 70 AD Roman private informer whose usual jobs involve following young philandering wives for rich old husbands, finds himself in the middle of a mystery of murder and mayhem involving important senators of high rank and even the Emperor Vespasian himself.

Thirty-year-old Falco has a large family and a mother, but they all are grieving for Falco's brother, Didius Festus, who was a heroic soldier in the Roman army an
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Jamie Collins
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
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Karen Witzler
Enjoyed the reread. I always find new plot points or historical references that I've missed. This time it was Vitellius and mushy peas.
Emma
Nov 28, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

'Now don't be worried!' I reassured her. 'Tell me, how old are you?'
She was sixteen. O Jupiter!
'Married?'

'Do I look like a person who is married?'

She looked like a person who soon should be!



Nope. Not for me.
Blaine DeSantis
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“When the girl came rushing up the steps, I decided she was wearing far too many clothes.”

Sam Spade? Phillip Marlowe? Mike Hammer? Nope, none other than Marcus Didius Falco the private investigator who is the creation of English author Lindsey Davis. And “The Silver Pigs” is the first of 20 books she has written about the adventures of Falco set in 70 A.D. during the the beginning of the reign of Roman Emperor Vespacian.
I always marvel at how well British authors can work with the Roman Empire a
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Kei
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara Jesus
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, history
Simplesmente fantástico! Um dos melhores romances históricos que li este ano.
Retrata a época romana sem ser exaustivo. Com todo o seu encanto e conflitos. Pode-se comparar aos romances de Steven Saylor que tem como protagonista o Gordiano, Descobridor...
Mas ao contrário de Gordiano, Marco Falco é um sedutor e republicano. Os casos que resolve tem como clientes mulheres, que acaba por conquistar, e homens de baixa categoria. No entanto a sua sorte muda, e ele acaba se envolvendo num misterioso c
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Inês Beato
Sugeriram-me que experimentasse a série Marcus Didius Falco, de Lindsey Davis, por ser grande fã da série Roma Sub Rosa, de Steven Saylor.
Devo dizer que, com esta comparação, coloquei as expectativas um pouco elevadas, já que adoro as aventuras de Gordiano, e isso fez com que este ‘Porcos de Prata’ me soubesse a pouco.
O livro é divertido e lê-se bem, mas a parte do enredo policial deixa muito a desejar e a história em si é um pouco fraca/banal. No início dei por mim a não gostar, sequer, das pe
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Peat
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've ever bothered to switch edition on a GR book, and that's because reading this book in 260 pages of titchy tiny font really do make a difference. Does slow things down and make it that little bit worse.

Still plenty good though. The fun is in the humour because the mystery is sadly a little underdeveloped, but that's okay, because Lindsay Davies as Falco is one of my favourite authorial voices ever; irreverent, sentimental and self-deprecating.
Jim
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Snezana BookWitch Gligorijevic
Ova knjiga je za mene toalno otkrovenje!
Pozajmila sam je od drugarice, u fazonu "Daj nesto da odmorim od fantastike." I nisam se pokajala.
Znate one stare, crno-bele filmove o detektivima sa sesiricima i cigarom uvek u kraju usana u ciju kancelariju jednoga dana zaluta prelepa plavusa sa zanimljivim slucajem za istragu. E ova knjia je bas to samo smestena u Stari Rim u vreme Cara Vespazijana. Veliki plus su vrcavi humor i sarkazam glavnog lika.
Delphine
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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, ...more
Veronica
2.5 stars

Mark Harrison
Not really sure what I made of this. Liked the main characters and the setting but the story was a little weak and predictable. Worth a read though and I will continue the series but not blown away yet.
Lisabet Sarai
It seems like a promising premise: take the noir stock character of the down-and-out gumshoe, gruff on the outside but with a soft center, and move it to Imperial Rome. Throw in some local color, a know-it-all mother, a couple of dames, some nasty bad guys, and an engaging interlude in the uncivilized wilds of Britain, seen through the eyes of the urbane Roman private eye Marcus Didius Falco.

Unfortunately, The Silver Pigs didn't quite work for me. For one thing, despite the author's detailed des
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Susan in NC
3.5 stars - I enjoyed Helena, Falco, his mother and Publius and several other characters in this Ancient Roman mystery, but I've never been much into the period and had a hard time getting into it - but I'd been hearing about the series for so long I wanted to give it a try.

The characters were definitely a strong point and I plan to look for the next book in this long and popular series; while there was plenty of dry humor and excellent research into the period, the mystery itself was very compl
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Brad
I needed a new series to make me fall in love with a clever detective (informer) all over again, and I really wanted it to be the M Didius Falco series. The long and short of it is that Lindsey Davis failed to make me fall in love. It was more like a mild like. I can't see myself coming back for more of this series.

I came looking for a genuine mystery. I was hoping for some Raymond Chandler style Roman detection, or some brooding Henning Mankell style Roman detection, or even some frustrating I
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Kelsey Hanson
Actual rating: 2.5 (Seriously Goodreads. Lots of people writing in their own half stars. Take the hint!!)

The first thought I had in the first chapter was "Is the narrator British? What is he doing in Ancient Rome". I later learned that the author is in fact from England. I didn't care much for the story. For some reason, the plot was really hard to follow apart from the obvious (and incredibly played out) love at first fight line. The saving grace of this story was the snarky and likeable main c
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kellyn
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chris
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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.

Fun!
Lou Robinson
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Eileen Charbonneau
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
HBalikov
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Way back in early 2015, I read Lindsey Davis' The Ides of April. I liked it, and since it featured the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, I thought I would eventually get around to the original character. The Silver Pigs is the first of many Falco novels that Davis wrote over a period of more than 20 years.

I rarely think that an entertaining mystery merits five stars, but this one does. For many of us who would rather read historical mysteries than current true crime, the attraction is what an au
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Karin Slaughter
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Writerlibrarian
The opening bow of Marcus Didus Falco is like a Chandlerest noir novel, with first person point of view, big corrupt city and this disenchanted, cynical PI who's at the wrong place at the right time.

Davis succeeds in creating a believable Rome set in Vespasian's time (70 AD) with it's corrupt politicians, corrupt army, corrupt police and public administration and makes it connect with our modern life. That's a tour de force.

Of course like any good noir novel, there is a damsel in distress that
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Francisco
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
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Damien
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Charles
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
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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)
  • 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)
  • One Virgin Too Many (Marcus Didius Falco, #11)

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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.” 6 likes
“In my experience, men who sit in corners are the ones to watch.” 3 likes
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