The Third Nero

Written by Lindsey Davis
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

September, AD 89. Rome is in turmoil. Emperor Domitian is on the throne and becoming more and more paranoid. Rumours abound that the murdered Nero is not dead but alive and well. Two false Neros have already been discovered, but now there is a third person claiming to be the emperor, and this one is already in Rome. Flavia Alba, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, the well-known detective now retired, is asked to take on the job of unmasking this new Nero. The plot twists and turns as one would expect with a Lindsey Davis story.

I have read many of Davis’ series featuring Marcus Didius Falco and wondered whether the jump to his daughter would work. To a large extent it does. There is the same suspense, the same detailed description of the ‘goings on’ in ancient Rome, and the same false trails.  The characters are well-drawn, and should you become confused as to who is whom and who are the goodies and the baddies, there is a comprehensive character list at the beginning.

So will Flavia prove to be as good as her father? Will the plot to restore ‘Nero’ to the throne succeed?  I leave that to the reader to find out.