One Virgin Too Many: by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Our hero, Marcus Didius Falco, finally achieves that which he has been seeking since he first took up with his girlfriend/wife/mother of his child – Falco has been raised to the equestrian rank by fiat of the Emperor himself. Suddenly Falco is respectable (in theory) and is given a public sinecure that is connected with protecting the Sacred Geese of Rome and the chickens used by the public augurs. It is just what Falco had been seeking.
And yet the life of the informer is not far from Falco’s new station in life. He is dragged into the mystery surrounding a missing young girl who had been destined (the lottery was fixed!) to become part of the Order of Vestal Virgins that was intrinsic to the public religious life of the Empire. Tasked by the highest in the city to do all that he can to find her quickly and safely, Falco also uncovers the sordid life of the leading families of the City of Rome. There Falco finds sordid intrigue, betrayal, promiscuity and murder – and ultimately the young girl is also recovered safely and soundly.
This volume in the ongoing series by Lindsey Davis is well ‘up to scratch’, providing an insight into the life of the Roman Empire of Vespasian while presenting an entertaining and engaging narrative. I am continually impressed by the first-person presentation that is reminiscent of the gum-shoe detective stories of the early 20th century (in particular) that seems out of place in the Roman Empire yet is somehow oddly endearing.
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