Enemies at Home

Written by Lindsey Davis
Review by Marina Oliver

This is the second in the Flavia Albia series. When a wealthy, newly-married couple are murdered, their valuable silver stolen, and their porter badly beaten, the household slaves, fearing being accused and executed if another culprit is not discovered, flee to sanctuary at the Temple of Ceres. Flavia Albia, adopted daughter of Falco, who has become an informer herself, is asked by the magistrate Manlius Faustus to investigate after the local vigiles have made a hash of the investigation.

She questions the slaves, the neighbours, an ex-wife and others, initially with limited success. Patiently returning time after time for more questions, she disentangles conflicting accounts, finding the truth as the complicated strands of an intricate plot unravel, and the tensions within the household are revealed. Staying away from her normal haunts, she comes to know another area of Rome, helped by Faustus and to some extent hindered by the vigiles and the local crooks who know something, and who are dangerous.

With her usual detailed knowledge of Imperial Rome and Roman life, and injecting subtle humour, Davis constructs a satisfying mystery which will please all her many fans.