Sunday, July 11, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: A Comedy of Terrors by Lindsey Davis

 I received this book free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

The Comedy of Terrors by Lindsey Davis is the 9th book in the Flavia Albia series, historical mysteries set in Ancient Rome. I’ve been following Albia since book one, The Ides of April, and followed her informer/detective adoptive father, Falco, throughout his 20-book career. So, I’m obviously hooked on Davis’ novels.

The current book is set during Saturnalia, party time in Rome, which is currently under the rule of Emperor Domitian. Albia is looking for work, but discouraged by the holiday break in family discord, which is where she generally finds clients. Her husband, Tiberius Manlius, a soon-to-be retired aedile is still searching out small-time corruption occurring on his watch. However, he stumbles onto dangerous large scale, mob-type criminal behavior by investigating holiday nuts gone bad. Someone is muscling in on the nut trade, making a profit selling rotten product. Needless to say, the threat is bigger than bad nuts.

Albia manages to scrounge up a client, a woman whose husband is allegedly straying, and tackles the investigation while simultaneously attempting to provide a holiday atmosphere for her disorganized household, which now includes Tiberius’ two young recently orphaned nephews. 

The novel is a little slow to start, but that’s because the groundwork must be laid for the interconnecting plot lines. Albia’s trademark cynical observations and snarky wisecracks give the story its familiar voice, but at times, I wanted the mystery to move along a little faster. When it does kick in though, the pace picks up and clues come fast and furious. Albia is a brave and smart investigator and her husband is a reliable sidekick. 

The author manages to bring all the various threads together to solve the mysteries and dispense justice. There are even satisfying glimpses of the old crowd (Falco, Petro, Helena) for nostalgia purposes. The series continues to entertain.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard about the series before. I love the Ancient Rome era so this is another book for the tbr list.