A Capitol Death (Flavia Albia 7)

Written by Lindsey Davis
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

Lindsey Davis is putting ancient Rome to rights again with the help of Flavia Albia. The Emperor Domitian is on the throne and has demanded a double Triumph, a huge public event, to celebrate his victories. All seems to be going well until one of the more senior figures involved in its organisation is found dead at the bottom of the Tarpeian Rock on the Capitoline Hill. Suicide or murder?

Tiberius Manilus is ordered to sort it all out but, being far too busy with the arrangements for the Triumph, passes the job to his wife, Flavia Albia. The incident happened at night with supposedly no witnesses until one elderly resident comes forward insistently claiming that she saw another figure with him on the hill at the same time. Rome is a superstitious city, and an event such as this could well be a bad omen especially as the victim, when identified, was unpopular, dodgy in his dealings and closely involved with the arrangements for the Triumph. Naturally, finding the solution is not simple. Can Flavia Albia sort it all out before the day of the Triumph?

These books are fun. The prose flows smoothly, and the reader is easily involved in all the activities, double dealing, red herrings and life generally. A good bedtime read, a book to while away a long holiday flight or just to relax with and read on a beach somewhere.