Bookstores are awash with detective/thriller stories boasting female protagonists. Yes, we have met quite a few brave, clever gals who can solve a mystery without chipping their manicures. However, I venture to say there are none like Flavia Gemina, introduced in Caroline Lawrence's debut novel.
You see, Flavia is a Roman sea captain's daughter who lives in 79 A.D. She's a carefree young miss who lives with her Dad in the port city of Ostia. She's also an animal lover, so when the dogs on her street start dying she is bound and determined to find out who is killing them and why anyone would perpetrate such senseless acts.
Kim Hicks, a very talented Brit who has performed in praiseworthy one-woman shows, gives captivating voice to Flavia and her buddies - including neighbor Jonathan; Nubia, a slave girl; and Lupus, a mute beggar boy.
As the group sets about solving the mystery they uncork a genie's bottle of adventures, escapades, and narrow escapes.
Listeners will particularly enjoy the setting of this tale as they learn something about life in ancient Rome.
- Gail Cooke