‘The Graveyard pf Hesperides’ is the 4th Lindsey Davis novel featuring Flavia Albia. Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco (who had his own 20 novel series) and like her father is an investigator in first century Rome.
Under ancient Roman law, when a couple lives together they are considered married. But Tiberius Manlius Faustus wants a formal wedding ceremony and has managed to get Albia to agree. In many ways she is regretting this and dreading the fuss especially as her 14 and 16 year old sisters are the wedding planners.
Now with the ceremony only 6 days away, Tiberius, working as the only honest building contractor in Rome, is trying to finish a courtyard renovation at the Garden of Hesperides, a dismal rundown bar in a rough part of the city.
When human bones are found buried in the courtyard he knows he must do the right thing (rather than dump the bones in a rubbish pile). He asks Albia to investigate. She must identify the victims and the killer before her wedding day.
There are rumours that the previous owner of the bar buried one of his barmaids in the courtyard 10 years ago. But if this is what Albia is dealing with, who are the other bodies?
Everywhere that Albia turns for information she meets resistance and she soon finds out why. A large proportion of the people in the area are related to each other and they are all involved in the cover-up.
The worst of Albia’s and Tiberius’s relatives are arriving in Rome for the wedding, and they are now facing threats in an effort to get them to back off the investigation. Albia would probably rather face the killers than her relatives.
As time runs out, Albia does her best to find the killers. And then Tiberius and Albia have the wedding that none of their guests will ever forget.
Once again Lindsey Davis has created a novel that perfectly walks the line between serious and hilarious. With Davis’s novels you can have a lot of fun while being educated about ancient Rome.
We were fully immersed in Roman wedding culture as well as life in a rundown dangerous area with the whole story shown through a very colourful group of characters – bar owners, prostitutes, builders, teenage girls, arrogant husbands, naughty children and many more.
I’m looking forward to the next addition to this series ‘The Third Nero‘ and I’m also slowly working my way through the Falco series.
Book Published 2016