In some ways, maybe most ways, this isn’t a new love. I’ve been a huge fan of Lindsey Davis’ Marcus Didius Falco mysteries for some years. I like historical, and I like wise-cracking P.I.s, so how could I resist a wise-cracking detective who’s also an ancient roman? I really liked all those books…but after a while, though she kept the quality high, I could tell that Ms. Davis was beginning to wear out Falco and his wife Helena, as characters. She took them through their first meeting, through romance, marriage, childbirth and the raising of a young family. They went from poor and struggling to prosperous. And while the mysteries were always good, I could tell that Davis was hitting the wall that most series hit—she was beginning to run out of things to do with those characters.
Since I love the series, I was saddened when the Falco books became fewer and farther apart, but as writer I understand that after a while a character might not have much new to offer, and Falco and Helena had had a great run…
So I was absolutely thrilled when the first Flavia Albia mystery came out. Flavia Albia was the adopted daughter that Falco and Helena picked up on one of their trips to
Britannia, a tough as nails slum brat with all kinds of hidden flaws and insecurities. And what could be more natural than for the child to take over the father’s business when he retires? The fact that the business is Falco’s ratty, disreputable work as an informer (ancient Roman version of a P.I.) and the child who takes it over is female just makes it all the more intriguing. The first book also introduced a wonderful hero for Albia to fall for over the course of many books…and the next book, Enemies at Home, is coming out in April! But best of all, is that Albia shares her father’s lovely, wry P.I. voice.
“There are rules for private informers accepting a new case. Never take on clients who cannot pay you. Never do favors for friends. Don’t work with relatives. If, like me, you are a woman, keep clear of men you find attractive.
“Will I never learn?”
I can’t wait.