Title: A Body in the Bathhouse
Author: Lindsey Davis
Publisher: Mysterious Press
# of Pages: 304
Favorite quote: (Falco, on seeing the people at the slave market) Judging by the pitiful specimens on offer, Rome badly needed some frontier wars.
With his entire family in tow, including wife, two children, and a sister whose spurned lover's plans for revenge have put her life in danger, Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman Emperor Vespasian's smart-aleck PI, follows two unsavory building contractors suspected of murder to a barbarous, uncivilized outpost of the Empire--the south coast of Britain, where its Great King, his royal architect, and an officious project manager are building a magnificent palace. Since Vespasian is paying for it, he's charged Falco with making sure Rome's money isn't being wasted, as well as with tracking down the suspects--two jobs that morph into one as the body count keeps rising. Falco is a lively protagonist who can't stay out of trouble but always comes out of it with the mystery solved and his sense of humor intact in this consistently fine series of historical thrillers. --Jane Adams
Oh, Falco- I think I've discussed my biblio-crush on Marcus Didius almost every time I read a book in this series. The man is intelligent, quick-witted, hilarious and loyal. I love him. As for the mystery in this book itself- I admit that I don't really pay attention to that part as much any more. It's just the plot device that drives Falco's sarcastic comments and amusing situations involving his many relations. Yes, there is a body found in a bathhouse (and then another one found in another bathhouse, in an unrelated incident several hundreds of miles away), and yes, Falco solves the mystery. But that's not nearly as interesting to me as the people he meets along the way and how he interacts with them. In this outing, we meet Falco's children's nanny, who has no maternal skills whatsoever. We also come back into contact with his nephew, Larius, who is now an adolescent with raging hormones. And we get even further exposure to Helena's two hilarious brothers. Chaos, as they say, ensues.
The result is a strong novel that carries forward the Falco story. I admit to liking Falco in Rome more than Falco out of Rome. But in this book, Falco takes Helena and the babies along with him, along with his sister. Promisingly, Petro and even more Falco Family show up at the end of the novel, which bodes well for The Jupiter Myth. An enjoyable, fun read- just right to curl up with after a long day of work!