‘The Ides of April is a whodunit set is ancient Rome and featuring Flavia Albia. It is the first book in a new series by Lindsey Davis. Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco. At this stage of her story, she is 28 years old and widowed. She is well established as an informer (private investigator) and has even retained Falco’s old haunt of the 6th floor of Fountain Court as her office.
As a woman, Albia faces some challenges in her job as an informer. Many clients will not hire a woman, and she can’t always go about her job easily without an attendant. Often she finds herself stuck with the jobs that no-one else wants. It is while working on one of these unwanted jobs that she discovers a series of unexplained deaths.
Working with Morellus – the head of the local vigils and Andronicus and Tiberius – the archivist and runner for the aedile Manlius Faustus, she firstly needs to convince them that an investigation is required and then assists in carrying it out.
But, some of the people who Albia is getting to know are not at all what they appear to be and her life is endangered more than once while working to solve the crime.
I thought this novel was brilliant. The crime itself wasn’t too difficult to solve. But right from the beginning I could hear the new voice of Flavia Albia. Her warm personality jumped off the pages, and she is someone I’ve already grown to love.
We also get to meet some of the regular people in her life. Rodan, the guard at Fountain Court, Prisca, who runs her favourite bathhouse and Junillus, her deaf cousin who runs the stargazer eatery (this used to be Floras). Falco and Helena even come into the story, but not in a big way.
I’ve been slowly working my way through the Falco series, so I hope this book will not be too much of a spoiler.
I’m looking forward to the next instalment of this series and hope to see Morellus and Manlius Faustus make further appearances.
Book Published 2013