The Ides of AprilBook - 2013
Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of a famous investigating family. In defiance of tradition, she lives alone on the colourful Aventine Hill, and battles out a solo career in a male-dominated world. As a woman and an outsider, Albia has special insight into the best, and worst, of life in ancient Rome.
A female client dies in mysterious circumstances. Albia investigates and discovers there have been many other strange deaths all over the city, yet she is warned off by the authorities. The vigils are incompetent. The local magistrate is otherwise engaged, organising the Games of Ceres, notorious for its ancient fox-burning ritual. Even Albia herself is preoccupied with a new love affair: Andronicus, an attractive archivist, offers all that a love-starved young widow can want, even though she knows better than to take him home to meet the parents...
As the festival progresses, her neighbourhood descends into mayhem and becomes the heartless killer's territory. While Albia and her allies search for him, he stalks them through familiar byways and brings murder ever closer to home.
The Ides of April is vintage Lindsey Davis, offering wit, intrigue, action and a brilliant new heroine who promises to be as celebrated as Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina, her fictional predecessors.
From the critics
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. . . I had spent my childhood a thousand miles from Rome, in a backwoods town that had been laid waste in a revolt and still lacked interesting architecture; when an effort has been made to build something unusual, I pay polite attention.
My two romantic little sisters believed that being so carefully dressed up as I was that afternoon guaranteed that you would meet the love of your life. Not today, apparently.
We were jostled on our own streets by visitors who seemed to have no sense that they had invaded our ground. Why do tourists never allow space to other people on pavements? Why are they so loud, why be such disrespectful idiots? Do they all leave their brains at home, sitting on a shelf with their good manners, when they pack their travel bags?
He has a long history of behaviour problems. Being reprimanded has no effect. He never admits he has done anything wrong. If forced, he blames other people; once you know him, you can watch his cunning brain devising excuses as he wriggles.
Stirring wall frescos showed heroes shedding the blood of monsters, watched by vacuous maidens, in various rocky locations: the sort of lurid adventure people suppose takes place abroad. I had been abroad, and knew otherwise.
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