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In Davis's engaging 17th ancient Roman historical to feature "informer" Marcus Didius Falco (after 2004's Scandal Takes a Holiday), Falco takes his deductive powers to Greece, where two young women tourists have died under mysterious circumstances. Accompanied by a large entourage, including his independent and sharp-witted wife, Helena, Falco soon finds that one tour, promoted by the shady Seven Sights Travel outfit, has a suspiciously high mortality rate. The long trail of corpses Falco uncovers puts the sleuth in danger of running out of suspects. While the way Falco unmasks the killer may be less than ingenious, the author's vivid picture of life in A.D. 76 and the sparkling characterizations, particularly the amusing byplay between Falco and Helena, will satisfy most readers. For those new to this popular series, which has a new publisher, Davis provides a short introduction to Falco and his world. (June)
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*Starred Review* If Sam Spade traveled back in time to A.D. 76, he'd be Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman sleuth at the center of Davis' mordant series. In the seventeenth outing, Marcus, who tackles crime on behalf of the emperor (and with the help of his tart-tongued wife, Helena), casts his cynical gaze on the case of two women who met their demise on tours of Olympia, Greece. Both women perished during excursions sponsored by Seven Sights, a dubious travel agency whose slippery host dispenses a litany of lies. Marcus focuses on the more recent victim, Valeria Ventidia, who was found beaten to death with a long-jumper's hand weight. Although there's no shortage of suspects among Seven Sights' colorful clientele, Valeria's shifty, jealous husband is at the top of the list. Davis provides vibrant period detail, from majestic Greek temples and teeming Roman slums to reprehensible rulers sporting tunics trimmed with gold. Some readers of this series may have difficulty accepting the hard-boiled veneer that Davis lays over ancient Rome, but for those willing to suspend disbelief, it makes a marvelous conceit. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.