Last Act in Palmyra by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Our hero, Marcus Didius Falco, travels to the east…and then keeps going some more! Accompanied by his girlfriend, Helena, Falco leaves the boundaries of the Roman Empire to explore the territory of Nabataea, supposedly looking for a missing musician, but with a ‘request’ from the Palace to have a look around and tell them what the region is like.
Just before being run out of the town of Petra (the famous Petra whose temple features in the Indiana Jones movie) accused of being a spy, Falco and Helena find themselves in the centre of a nasty murder that takes place in a place of religious significance, the victim being a member of a troupe of performers also being told to leave town. Never one to leave a good murder unsolved, Falco and Helena join forces with the troupe, ostensibly because they are heading in the same direction physically, but also in an attempt to unmask the perpetrator and obtain some semblance of justice for the murdered.
Coming to terms with various subplots and internecine intrigues, Falco and Helena travel through the Decapolis with the troupe, Falco having convinced the owners that his literary talents are sufficient to replace the murder victim as the troupe’s playwright. Not unexpectedly, more murders and mayhem are encountered as Falco tries to identify the murderer, and the reader meets some very interesting characters along the way.
The writing in the Falco series is strong as is the development of the narratives of each adventure. I particularly enjoy the first-person presentation of the story, which allows the reader to see the story unfold as Falco encounters new information and evidence.
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