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Three Hands in the Fountain [Audio CD]

Lindsey Davis , Christian Rodska
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

April 12 2011 Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries
Marcus Didius Falco and his laddish friend Petronius find their local fountain has been blocked—by a gruesomely severed human hand. Soon other body parts are being found in the aqueducts and sewers.Public panic overcomes official indifference, and the Aventine partners are commissioned to investigate. Women are being abducted during festivals, and the next Games are only days away. As the heat rises in the Circus Maximus, they face a race against time and a strong test of their friendship. And they know that the sadistic killer lurks somewhere on the festive streets of Rome—preparing to strike again.

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From Publishers Weekly

Secret-agent/sleuth Marcus Didius Falco (A Dying Light in Cordoba, etc.) returns with gusto for another case of mystery and intrigueAthis time involving a serial killerAin ancient Rome. As the novel opens, Falco has just come back from a perilous mission to Baetican Spain and is ready to tackle his new role as father to his first-born daughter. But his commitment to paternal responsibilities begins to lag when he and his old friend, Petronius Longus, make a gory discoveryAof a severed human hand in one of Rome's many fountains. As the inquisitive buddies do some reconnaissance work, encountering similar body parts in the Roman water supply, they learn that there is, in fact, a tradition of corpses circulating in the waterworks. Furthermore, these dead bodies often appear after public festivals. The threat of contaminated aqueducts coupled with the imminent Roman Games brings Falco and Petro to confront the authorities on the matter. Official desire to keep the problem under wraps forces the pair to determine the killer's identity on their own, with the help of Helena (Falco's wife), Anacrites (a spy and boarder in Falco's mother's home) and other toga-wearing tipsters. Once again, Davis weaves an intricate, irreverent plot filled with wittily imagined characters.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA-Set in first-century Rome, this fast-paced mystery is narrated by a cynical, hard-boiled hero with an imperfectly concealed soft spot for his family. Marcus Didius Falco is back in Rome after an extended trip to Spain. His mother is trying to get him to take on a new partner: his enemy, the former Chief Spy, Anacrites. Falco's friend Petronius Longus is on suspension and in danger of becoming an ex-vigile now that his wife has reported his affair with a married woman who has ties to organized crime. Falco is able to dodge Anacrites by taking Petro on as a partner, but their lives become complicated after they discover a decomposed hand in a fountain. More body parts turn up in the water supply, and it soon becomes clear that someone has been murdering and dismembering women at major festivals for years. The authorities have tried to cover it up to prevent a riot over contaminated water, but now Falco has been given the task of finding the killer before he strikes again. Davis vividly describes life during the period, but the story is never overwhelmed by historical detail. Although the book can stand alone, fans of Falco and his wife Helena will be delighted to encounter familiar characters, from Falco's many sisters and disreputable brothers-in-law to Helena's supposedly more refined aristocratic relations. A riveting, suspenseful, witty read with lots of historical flavor.
Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco series of murder mysteries set in ancient Rome (AD 70-73) is spot-on. Besides being riveting mystery novels, Davis' historical knowledge is both extensive and up-to-date. (I should know. I have recently received a doctorate in Roman history and am whiling away the long wait for an academic post.) "Fountain" offers an almost painless introduction to the supposedly tedious subject of Roman aqueducts and water management. In the novels, obscure facts of Roman history (such as the organization of the vigiles, Rome's firemen and police, or the Maiuma, a religious carnival involving nude bathing - in "Palmyra") come alive. What's more, Davis does this with humor and a light touch. She completely undercuts the supposedly stuffy image of the ancient Romans with Falco's irreverent perspective. Davis is 1000 times better than Colleen McCullough's bloated "First Man in Rome" series.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Review Dec 5 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Three Hands in the Fountain (Lindsey Davis, 1996) is quite a disappointment. Although genuinely funny, with good dialogue, the plot is a mess.
The setting is Rome, vividly depicted, and seen through the eyes of a plebeian, with emphasis on the waterworks, "a vital state concern, and had been for centuries. Its bureaucracy was an elaborate mycelium whose black tentacles crept right to the top", and on the bureaucratic complications of the aqueducts. To these waterworks, someone is adding various pieces of human anatomy-gore, with much scope for black comedy. It soon becomes apparent that the murders are linked to the many Roman Games, giving the informer hero Marcus Didius Falco "an excellent excuse to spend much of the next two months enjoying himself in the sporting arenas of our great city-all the while calling it work". The atmosphere of "watching scores of gladiators being sliced up while the Emperor snored discreetly in his gilded box and the best pick-pockets in the world worked the crowds" is vivid and almost tangible.
Setting, therefore, is quite good (although certainly not comparable to the brilliant depiction of Rome in Robert Graves' superb I, CLAUDIUS). What is not so good is the actual plot: the detection is not very good, with few clues to speak of, and no suspects; and the murderer's identity is a complete let-down, completely characterless, and introduced on page 231 of 294. This is not what I expect from an author The Times suggested as being "well suited to assume ... the title Queen of the Historical Whodunnit".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Entertaining Nov. 30 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you've found the other Falco books dull, a story about dismembered bodies should liven things up. This is a wonderful series that everyone should enjoy. Helena does not play as important a role as I would wish, but this is still an excellant book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too many subplots June 13 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of the MD Falco books. This is not one of the better ones. There are too many subplots going on and the main thread just wasn't compelling enough. In general I enjoy this series but this was lame compared to some of the others. I got a little bored with it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this series! May 4 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Falco boks are one of my "guilty pleasures", extremely readable detective books that entertain, and are, unfortunately, too short. They also give the reader little dollups of Ancient Roman history, and these go down very well. Now that Edith Pargeter has died, and Brother Cadfael will no longer solve crimes in medieval England, this is my favorite historical detective series. May the author live long and prosper!
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