PANDORA’S BOY is the 6th novel in the Flavia Albia series by Lindsey Davis. Flavia Albia is the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and like her father is a private investigator in ancient Rome.
Albia’s new husband Tiberius is still suffering from being struck by lightning when his ex-wife brings a new case to Albia. Albia has no interest. But when Tiberius goes missing (presumably confused after being struck by lightning), Albia takes on the case to forget about her own problems.
The case is the death of 15 year old Clodia in a wealthy 56part of Rome. She died in her bed and her father accuses her mother and grandmother of giving her a love potion that killed her.
Albia interviews Clodia’s family and friends. She finds trouble within the family and a group of friends with more money to spend than is good for them and no care for anyone but themselves. Relationships within the group are very fluid with the younger generation having learned this from their parents. The lady who distributes potions and lotions, a witch named Pandora, has a murky gangster past.
But Albia receives some unexpected help on the case from the local lettuce seller’s assistant. She soon learns that Clodia wasn’t the sweet innocent young girl that her parents liked to portray. And after tracing the events of the fateful evening, it doesn’t take Albia long to work out what happened to Clodia.
But the real point of the story was to show the lives of the idle rich and the unsavoury gangsters living in their midst. Along the way a friend of Albia’s is murdered when he accidently gets caught in between two feuding gangs.
This was another enjoyable novel as we followed the very modern Albia in her ancient Roman setting. It illustrated just how little has changed in almost 2000 years.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in this series and I’m still slowly reading my way through the Falco series.