Some years ago, I first read one of this author's mysteries set in Roman times and all involving Marcus Didius Falco, an informer (we would say detective) whose personal life features just as much in the stories as the quests he is set on by his clients.
Through this blog, my attention was directed to the series again, and my mum was kind enough to fetch three of these books for me from our local library, Poseidon's Gold being one of them.
I must admit I felt rather indifferent towards the story and its characters for about two thirds of the pages, but I do not blame Lindsey Davis' writing - the problem was more in the way my life looked like for the past few weeks, with many things to do, many people to see and a shifting in priorities as I am on the job hunt for the first time again in almost nine years.
Therefore, I did not stick long enough to reading to really get "into" the book - until two nights during this week when I found myself quite unexpectedly (but rather welcome!) on my own without any appointment for the evening.
Finally, I read more than just a few pages before my eyes would start to close and my hand would turn the bedside lamp off, already half asleep. Finally, I managed to read long enough to appreciate the humour, the amount of research and the witty yet elegant style of the author again. And finally, the story picked up pace - I think that wasn't so in the first half of the book - making me eager to want to keep on reading, finding out what was going to happen next.
The mystery Falco finds himself having to solve this time is closer to home than normally: his own brother, who died a hero in military action, was involved in it, and instead of the usual paying client, his own mother and father are interested in finding out the truth.
To complicate matters further, at first Falco is the main suspect of the only murder the whole book contains - a popular theme for mystery authors of all times: while the detective is working on solving the puzzle, he or she must clear their own name and try to stay out of prison long enough to find all the necessary clues and talk to all the right people.
Falco's girlfriend Helena, his father, his mother, many other relatives and his old friend Petronius as well as a former school teacher of his, a bunch of dishonest and lazy artists, a runaway slave and a mysterious restaurant owner whose existence is doubted, make for a colourful and lively cast.
Rome and the daily live there are described in a manner that make it easy to imagine people really lived that way, and in some ways their lives were not that different from ours.
The plot is credible, but not so simple as to guess the answers from the start.
An all-over good read - and I just am sorry for not having paid much attention for most of the book. I promise I'll do better with my next read.