When my mum kindly fetched three of Lindsey Davis' books for me from the library, I did not expect to take so long to finish them - I have never been such a "slow" reader as this spring, but then again, never before have I been leading such a pleasantly busy and colourful life as during the past weeks and months, especially since I was released from all duties at my former work place until I will start my new job on the 2nd of May.
This one is the last of the three books my mum brought: Scandal takes a Holiday.
You can catch up on what happened in the one before here; in that older blog entry, I also talk about the non-fiction book "Daily Life in Ancient Rome" which I am still reading at the same time (I am just about halfway through with that one).
Falco and his family are on holiday in Ostia, Rome's wealthy seaside town, where all the luxury goods from all over the empire arrive by the shipload. Or so it seems - of course, Falco wouldn't be Falco if he was there really just for fun and leisure.
He is on a case: the reporter who pens the hugely popular gossip column of Rome's Daily Gazette has gone missing and was last known to have travelled to Ostia to "see his auntie" - something most men would say with a nudge and a wink, meaning that auntie was not really a relative.
Our detective finds out more about said auntie and LOTS more about who holds Ostia in a firm grip of corruption and fear. He visits the numerous temples of the town, ventures out into the countryside to find a very rich old man with a colourful past, shares a drink with his father and his uncle (who he had not seen for 25 years), attends a pompous funeral and even takes a dip in the Mediterranean (he can not swim, by the way).
Only at the very end, he finds the missing scribe, but along the way, a series of kidnappings is solved and the old question whether there are still any pirates about, even after Emperor Pompey's efforts to eradicate them, is answered.
This book sees Falco rather depressed several times, and we fully understand why. There is also a lot of Lindsey Davis' trademark humour in it, and her fascinating little details about Roman life are in abundance, making one really delve into the atmosphere of a summer by the sea in AD 76.
It certainly won't be the last of Falco-books for me - just for now. There are already a pile of books waiting to be read on my shelf, but I have not yet decided which is going to be my No. 8 this year.