‘Enemies at Home’ is the second book in Lindsey Davis’s Flavia Albia series about a female private informer in ancient Rome. She is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco who has his own 20 book series. I’m really enjoying this series so far but I hope I don’t come across too many spoilers for the Falco series which I’m working my way through very slowly.
Tiberius Manlius Faustus is a Roman aedile who already has a history with Flavia Albia. So, when he hires her for a job, she breaks many of her own rules (never do favours for friends and keep clear of men you find attractive). A newly married couple – Valerius Aviola and Mucia Lucilia have been murdered and their home burgled. Knowing that if the murderer can’t be found then the household slaves will be held accountable, the slaves have fled to the Temple of Ceres to seek sanctuary. Albia must work out who the real murderer is before the slaves are turned out of the temple.
But as usual, investigating a crime is not straightforward for a female in ancient Rome. And, everyone involved with the murdered couple – friends, relatives, neighbours and slaves seems to have something to hide. Albia needs to work hard to unpick the conspiracy of deceit. Meanwhile the local gangsters are making their presence felt – did they carry out the robbery or are they angry that someone else has operated on their turf.
Meanwhile the chemistry between Albia and the beautiful grey eyed Manlius Faustus is threatening to get in the way of the investigation.
When Albia eventually manages to work her way through the layers of secrets and lies, the identity of the murderer and the reasons for the cover-up come as a surprise.
This was an excellent story and a fantastic immersion into the life of ancient Rome. The characters introduced in this story were brilliant as were the references to characters from earlier novels (in this series and the Falco series).
As usual, the story was presented in a light and fun manner. The laws and punishments in ancient Rome were so bazaar that they have no real emotional impact of me. Being sown into a bag with a cockerel and other assorted items and thrown into the river – it’s too far from reality to even register.
I’m looking forward to the next book in this series while continuing to work my way through the Falco series.
Book Published 2014