Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher:  Mysterious Press / Time-Warner Books
Release Date: September 3, 2003
ISBN: 0-89296-777-3
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre: Historical Mystery / Hard-Boiled [A.D. 75, Londinium, Britannia]
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Kristin Johnson

Reviewer Notes: Lindsey Davis is the author of thirteen previous mystery novels featuring Marcus Didius Falco, as well as THE COURSE OF HONOR.

Reviewer Kristin Johnson will release her second book, CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi Cummins, in September 2003. Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004.

The Jupiter Myth
A Marcus Didius Falco MysteryMystery
Lindsey Davis

    "Spartacus" and JULIUS CAESAR meet "Goodfellas" in this Ancient Rome mystery that's literally classic noir. You can smell the wine and the sweat from a female gladiator named Amazonia, a.k.a. femme fatale (literally) Chloris, who's just one of the complications auditor and secret Roman Empire sleuth Marcus Didius Falco runs into while on holiday in Britain after an old enemy, Verovolcus, who's connected to native Britain king Togidubnus, is found stuffed down a well in a gin, er, wine joint named the Shower of Gold, after the form Jupiter (that's Zeus to you Greek fans) took to seduce one of his many conquests.

      There's no need to brush up on your high school Latin, because Lindsey Davis adds the modern touch with words such as "snackshop" and "dummy". But the description of ancient Romans living with ancient Britons is a vivid portrait of the age and the headaches of colonization. Marcus, formerly a man acquainted with the seamy side of life that old girlfriend Chrloris represents, now finds himself going up against it again when he uncovers evidence that Verovolcus' death may be linked to organized crime through a wimp of a mob boss whom Tony Soprano would whack on the spot. Not only that, the wimp boss in question has a personal grudge against hero and Falco friend L. Petronius Longus, who in turn has a personal, intimate tension with Falco's widowed sister Maia, who, in true noir tradition, reportedly is kidnapped by the mob in the book's final third.

     But all is not as it seems. The mobsters are a genuine threat who remain at large for further Falco outings, but elementary, my dear Watsonius, an avaricious barmaid, personifying the dark side of human nature and the lawlessness of the provinces, proves to have a greater role in Verovolcus' murder than she reveals.

     From Chloris to Maia, to Falco's senator's daughter wife Helena Justina and young mob victim Albia, Falco's women are a force to be reckoned with, and Falco, smartened by his deep love for Helena, proves to be the noble hero untainted by the dark side.

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