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The Falco books.. what can we say? They're good. Not only a good read, but they impart a good "feel" for the Roman world. Why not give them a look?

The Silver Pigs is the classic novel which introduced readers around the world to Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer with a knack for trouble, a tendency for bad luck, and a frequently incovenient drive for justice..

When Marcus Didius Falco encounters the young and very pretty Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately that there is something amiss. When she confesses that she is fleeing for her life, Falco offers to help her and, in doing so, he gets himself mixed up in a deadly plot involving stolen ingots, dangerous and dark political machinations, and, most hazardous of all, one Helena Justina, a brash, indominable senator's daughter connected to the very traitors that Falco has sworn to expose.

"Some men are born lucky, others are called Didius Falco."

Shadows in Bronze -- It's the first century CE in Rome and informer and occasional imperial agent Marcus Didius Falco is miserable. The high-born woman he fell in love with, Helena Justina, has broken off their stormy, impossible affair. So when Emperor Vespasian assigns Falco a task that will take him out of Rome, he can't wait. Disguised as vacationer in the company of his comrade Petronius Longus, captain of the Aventine Watch, Falco travels south to Neapolis, Capreae and Pompeii where he discovers a conspiracy involving the Egyptian grain shipment to Rome. He also stumbles across Helena Justina, conveniently also on a trip out of town, who might, unwittingly, be enmeshed in this dangerous, treasonous scheme.

Rome, AD 71. Marcus Didius Falco is deperate to leave the notorious Lautumiae prison - though being bailed out by his mother is a slight indignity...

Venus in Copper -- Things go from bad to worse though when a group of nouveau riche ex-slaves hire him to outwit a fortune-hunting redhead, whose husbands have a habit of dying accidently, leaving him up against a female contortionist, her extra-friendly snake, indigestible cakes and rent racketeers. And, all the while, trying to lure Helena Justina to live with him, a dangerous proposition given the notorius instability of Roman real estate. In a case of murder as complicated as he ever faced, this classic tale shows Falco at his very finest.

The Iron Hand of Mars -- When Germanic troops in the service of the Empire begin to rebel, and a Roman general disappears, Emperor Vespasian turns to the one man he can trust: Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer whose rates are low enough that even the stingy Vespasian is willing to pay them.

To Falco, an undercover tour of Germania is an assignment from Hades. On a journey that only a stoic could survive, Falco meets with disarray, torture, and murder. His one hope: in the northern forest lives a powerful Druid priestess who perhaps can be persuaded to cease her anti-Rome activities and work for peace. Which Falco is eagerly hoping for as, back in Rome, the Titus Caesar is busy trying to make time with Helena Justina, a senator’s daughter and Falco’s girlfriend.

Poseidon's Gold -- After six months in wild Germania, imperial gumshoe Marcus Didius Falco is back in Rome sweet Rome. But his apartment has been ransacked. And although he desperately needs 400,000 sesterces in order to marry his aristocratic love, Helena, his only client is his mother, who insists that he find out whether the scandalous claims against his dead brother, Festus, are true.

Then the chief tarnisher of Festus's good name is murdered, and Marcus becomes the prime suspect. Someone is definitely fiddling with the scales of justice. The more Marcus hunts for the thread that will lead him out of this doom-laden labyrinth of misery and mystery, the less his life is worth. Except, as seems likely, as a meal for the Emperor's hungry lions...

Last Act in Palmyra -- It's AD 72 Rome, and Emperor Vesparian refuses to elevate sometime sleuth Marcus Didius Falco to the middle rank. Yet hope springs eternal, so when Vespasian's chief spy offers Falco an assignment in the East, he jumps at the chance. But his new assignment soon becomes a nightmare when he finds the corpse of a Roman playwright in a sacred pool. To ferret out the murderer, Falco joins the traveling theater group.

Time to Depart -- Balbinus Pius, the most notorious gangster in Emperor Vespasian's Rome, has been convicted of a capital crime at last. A quirk of Roman law, however, allows citizens condemned to death "time to depart" and find exile outside the empire. Now as every hoodlum in Rome scrambles to take over Balbinus' operations, private eye Marcus Didius Falco has to deal with an unprecedented wave of crime--and the sneaking suspicion that Balbinus' exile may not really be so permanent after all.

A Dying Light in Corduba -- Marcus Didius Falco is ready to make new contacts and start a new career, and a dinner for the Society of Olive Oil Producers of Baetica seems like the perfect opportunity. But when two dinner guests are found beaten--one dead--Falco knows he cannot rest until he solves at least one more mystery.

Three Hands in the Fountain -- In vino, veritas. But in the water supply of Rome, horroras Marcus Didius Falco is about to find out. Sharing an ewer of Spanish red with his old friend and new partner Petronius Longus, Falco is on the spot when a man cleaning the local fountain makes a gruesome discovery: a human hand. Small and evidently female, the hand suggests its owner met a terrifying fate. Naturally, Falco and Petro, formerly of the Vigiles, want to seize on it as their first big case. The officials of Rome, however, prefer to hush up the incident, since a population that riots at the drop of a toga might run wild if body parts are polluting their drinking water. Soon other delicate, dismembered hands are being found in Rome's two hundred miles of aqueduct. Now aided, inspired, and given critical clues by his wife, Helena, Falco & Partner are ready to buck the status quo and even butt heads with Falco's old boss, Chief Spy Anacrites, to crack the case. But O, Hades! The duo suspects a serial killer is at large, linked topublic festivals, and likely to strike again at the upcoming Roman Games. Even a detective as astute as Falco may not spot a twisted mind in a crowd of 250,000. And if Falco loses this race with time, another pretty victim will make a deadly splash...

‘Someone was going to get killed. One glance at the narrow eyes of the leopardess told me she had decided it would not be her.’

Two for the Lions --Marcus Didius Falco is on special assignment for the Emperor Vespasian. This time he's tracking down tax fraud among the bestiarii, the slaughterers, and the lanistae, the suppliers of the gladiators and animals who provide the executions, spectacles, and entertainment for the Roman masses.

Hoisted by his own tarnished petard, Falco is unwillingly partnered with his ex-boss Anacrites, Rome's chief spy, but that's the least of his problems; his investigation has hardly begun when he finds himself in the tunnels under the arena with a lion named Leonidas--a man-killer who may or may not have been switched with a tamer beast for a private party meant to impress a wealthy Senator's mistress.

While Leonidas presents no immediate threat to Falco--the king of the jungle is quite dead--the circumstances of the beast's demise lead Falco to ponder a connection between a murderous feud that seems to have broken out in the ranks of the lanistae and the lucrative contracts soon to be let by the emperor for his magnificent new amphitheater. And when the most popular gladiator in Rome is killed--not in the arena, as might be expected, but while sleeping in his own bed--Falco and his patrician lover Helena take passage to Tripoli to track down the perpetrator. Along the way, they attempt to solve a domestic crisis involving Helena's youngest brother, who seems to be right in the middle of the African connection between the murders of man and beast, as well as the feud between two powerful lanistae. And there's still another reason to embark on a journey to the Dark Continent--the search for an extinct variety of wild garlic, which could make Falco a wealthy man and which ends with a hilarious denouement.

One Virgin Too Many -- A frightened child approaches Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco, pleading for help. Nobody believes Gaia’s story that a relation wants to kill her, and neither does he. Beset by his own family troubles, by his new responsibilities as Procurator of the Sacred Poultry, and by the continuing search for a new partner, he turns her away. Immediately he regrets it. Gaia has been selected as the new Vestal Virgin, and when she disappears, Falco is officially asked to investigate. Finding Gaia is then a race against time, ending in Falco’s most terrifying exploit yet.

Ode to a Banker -- In the long, hot Roman summer of AD74, Marcus Didius Falco, private informer and spare-time poet, gives a reading for his family and friends. Things get out of hand as usual. The event is taken over by Aurelius Chrysippus, a wealthy Greek banker and patron to a group of struggling writers, who offers to publish Falco’s work — a golden opportunity that rapidly palls. A visit to the Chrysippus scriptorium implicates him in a gruesome literary murder, so when Petronius Longus, the over-worked vigiles enquiry chief, commissions him to investigate, Falco is forced to accept.

A Body in the Bath House -- With his entire family in tow, including wife, two children, and a sister whose spurned lover's plans for revenge have put her life in danger, Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman Emperor Vespasian's smart-aleck PI, follows two unsavory building contractors suspected of murder to a barbarous, uncivilized outpost of the Empire--the south coast of Britain, where its Great King, his royal architect, and an officious project manager are building a magnificent palace. Since Vespasian is paying for it, he's charged Falco with making sure Rome's money isn't being wasted, as well as with tracking down the suspects--two jobs that morph into one as the body count keeps rising.

The Jupiter Myth -- Marcus Didius Falco continues with a classic noir tale of gangsters, gladiators, and romance. For Falco, an attempt at relaxing while visiting his wife Helena's relatives in Britain turns serious when a murder is discovered. King Togidubnus, the renegade henchman of Rome's vital ally, has been stuffed head-first down a barroom well-leading to a tricky diplomatic situation which Falco must defuse. Making matters worse, the town has become a magnet for criminals from Rome...and one murder leads to others. With the army turning a blind eye, Falco and his partner Petronius must lead the hunt for gangsters intent on taking over the city. From the wharves beside the River Thamesis to the old haunts of organized crime back home in Italy, Falco and Petronius face danger and death in every corner. Will they be able to return order to the city before they lose everything they hold dear?

The Accusers -- In an effort to resume his career as an informer on his home turf, Falco ends up playing advocate in a messy dispute that pits him against two highly successful "legals," Paccius Africanus and Silius Italicus. The convoluted case, which involves a wealthy, fractious family and tricky questions of inheritance, gives Davis the opportunity to explore the vagaries of Roman law, which she approaches with her usual mix of respect and sarcasm. The corruption conviction of senator Rubirius Metellus followed by his mysterious demise threaten the Metelli family's fortunes. Hired to prove the senator's death was not a suicide, Falco finds himself immersed in scandal, blackmail, corruption and intrigueâ€"common ingredients of legal practice. In one particularly fine scene, Falco delivers a speech in the Basilica that relies on amusing and effective rhetorical tricks.

Scandal Takes a Holiday -- The staff of the official government newspaper retains Falco when Diocles, the paper's gossip columnist, disappears while on a visit to Ostia. At the seaport, a cesspool of corruption, Falco follows up on rumors that pirates, supposedly put out of business by Pompey the Great decades earlier, are engaged in smuggling and a kidnapping racket. Utilizing his street smarts and well-earned cynical view of humanity, Falco moves in and out of dives and places of worship on the trail of a mysterious figure who acts as the middleman between the kidnappers and the victims' families. Disturbingly, some of the clues point to one of the detective's disreputable relatives.sters, gladiators, and romance.

See Delphi and Die -- It's A.D. 76 during the reign of Vespasian, and Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer," has achieved much in his life. He's joined the equestrian rank, allowing him to marry Helena Justina, the Senator's beloved daughter. But now he's just been hired to undergo a dangerous mission: to pry his brother-in-law Aulus, a scholar on the way to study in Athens, away from a murder investigation involving two dead women at the ancient site of the Olympic Games. Traveling to Greece under the guise of being tourists, Falco and Helena visit the country's classic sites in order to investigate the suspicious goings-on and shady dealings of Seven Sights, a fly-by-night travel agency. What begins as a risky expedition becomes sinister when Aulus, too, goes missing in what becomes Falco's most complex and high-stakes case yet.

Saturnalia -- It’s 76 A.D. during the reign of Vespasian and the Roman festival of Saturnalia is getting underway. The days are short; the nights are for wild parties. But not for “informer” Marcus Didius Falco. His job is to uncover unwelcome truths and deal with sensitive situations, frequently at the behest of the imperial government. So when a general’s famous female conquest escapes from house arrest—leaving a horrendous murder in her wake—Falco is on the case. If finding a fugitive isn’t enough of a Zeus-like headache, Falco’s wife Helena Justina’s brother has also gone missing. Against the riotous backdrop of the season of misrule and merriment, the search seems impossible. And Falco seems to be the only one who notices that some dark agency is bringing death to the city streets…

Alexandria -- In first century A.D. Rome, during the reign of Vespasian, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private “informer,” often for the emperor, ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations with their wives, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, with others in tow, travel to Alexandria, Egypt. But they aren’t there long before Falco finds himself in the midst of nefarious doings—when the Librarian of the great library is found dead, under suspicious circumstances. Falco quickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings, malfeasance, deadly professional rivalry, more bodies and the lowest of the low—book thieves! As the bodies pile up, it’s up to Falco to untangle this horrible mess and restore order to a disordered universe.

Nemisis -- In the high summer of A.D. 77, Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco is beset by personal problems. Newly bereaved and facing unexpected upheavals in his life, it is a relief for him to consider someone else’s misfortunes. A middle-aged couple who supplied statues to his father, Geminus, have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. They had an old feud with a bunch of notorious freedmen, the Claudii, who live rough in the pestilential Pontine Marshes, terrorizing the neighborhood. When a mutilated corpse turns up near Rome, Falco and his vigiles friend Petronius investigate, even though it means traveling in the dread marshes. But just as they are making progress, the Chief Spy, Anacrites, snatches their case away from them. As his rivalry with Falco escalates, he makes false overtures of friendship, but fails to cover up the fact that the violent Claudii have acquired corrupt protection at the highest level. Making further enquiries after they have been warned off can only be dangerous—but when did that stop Falco and Petronius?

Falco: The Official Companion -- As the girl came running up the steps, I decided she was wearing far too many clothes...So, in 1989, readers were introduced to Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman informer, as he stood on the steps of the Temple of Saturn, looking out across the Forum: the heart of his world. Twenty years and twenty books later, Falco fans want a companion volume. Only here will you learn the author's private background, including her descent from a failed assassin and how atheism improved her knitting. Here too are the real glories and heartache involved in research and creation: why the baby had to be born in Barcelona, which plots evolved from intense loathing of management trainees, what part a thermal vest played in the iconic Falco's conception. It can't be a complete handbook to ancient Rome, but it covers perennial issues. There are a hundred illustrations, some specially commissioned, others from family archives. Enlightening quotations come from the Falco books and from eminent sources: Juvenal, through Chandler, to 1066 and All That. Readers have asked for this book. Their paranoid, secretive author agrees it is now or never. This is time to spill beans on the travertine...

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