Thursday, January 5, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis

I kept going with Lindsey Davis’s Flavia Albia series. I’m on a roll. Book 4, The Graveyard of the Hesperides was also a Christmas present. I decided to keep reading while the characters are fresh in my memory.

This book counts down the days of the week until the wedding of Flavia Albia and Manlius Faustus. Naturally, the hard-boiled informer is not about to spend her time planning a wedding. That task was given over to her younger sisters, with help from her parents. Albia has crimes to solve.

Her husband-to-be, anticipating the end of his term as an aedile, has embraced a new career as a building contractor. He’s busy renovating the house they will live in and he has also inherited a job renovating a bar in a seedy part of town. The bar is known for an old tale that the previous owner murdered a barmaid and buried her in the courtyard. This just added color to the place until bones were discovered during the renovation. Now Albia and Faustus feel obligated to find out the truth.

Albia goes about the investigation with her typical cynically humorous style. Hanging around the poverty/crime/vice-ridden locale brings back memories of her traumatic childhood as an orphan in Britain. So, in addition to her detective work, Albia spends time reflecting on her life, her good fortune in being rescued and adopted, and her upcoming wedding. Faustus continues to be a perfect match for her. Although involved in the investigation, he’s a busy man and leaves the bulk of the work to her. He doesn’t nag her to take care or chastise her for running risks. He has complete faith in her competence, enough to tease her when things are going badly.

Of course, one set of remains turns into several. Ultimately, I was able to figure out who-dunnit before Albia did, but there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested throughout. This is a series that grows on you. I hope marriage doesn’t turn the pair dull, but Lindsey Davis is skilled at keeping a series fresh and entertaining, so I look forward to book 5.

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