ODE TO A BANKER is the 12th Falco novel by Lindsey Davis featuring informer (detective) Marcus Didius Falco and set in the 1st century AD in Rome.
Falco has finally been presented with an opportunity to read his poetry to a group but things don’t go Falco’s way. Firstly the other poet is rich and has booked a large auditorium, secondly the other poet writes appalling poetry and thirdly, the whole event is taken over by Chrysippus, a publisher and patron of several writers.
The next day, Falco is offered the chance to publish his work by an agent of Chrysippus, but he finds the terms unfavourable. But he does happen to be at the publishing house of Chrysippus on the fateful day that he is murdered.
Falco’s long term friend Petronius Longus, temporary head of his vigiles group, decides to hire Falco to solve the crime.
The list of suspects quickly expands. Originally Chrysippus was thought to have been murdered by a disgruntled writer. But soon Falco finds that he was also a Greek banker, and had a disgruntled ex-wife, a new younger wife and a spendthrift good for nothing son. It takes several weeks for Falco to interview all the suspects and finally decide on the murderer.
In presenting the solution, Falco brings all the suspects together in one room to present his findings.
I enjoyed finding out about both publishing and banking in ancient Rome, but unfortunately I didn’t find this novel as entertaining as some in the series. At times it felt a bit bogged down and tedious.
But the story was much more interesting on the personal front. Helena Justina is expecting a second child and Petronius and Falco’s sister Maia seem to be becoming much more friendly with each other. Both of Falco’s parents also featured in this novel.
The next novel in the series is – A BODY IN THE BATH HOUSE.