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 Chrysippusscriptorium 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. Lindsey Davis' twelfth novel wittily explores Roman publishing and banking, taking us from the jealousies of authorship and the mire of patronage, to the darker financial world, where default can have fatal consequences...
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Lindsey Davis's novels about the Roman informer Falco have always been ingenious in the way she sets up impeccably researched Imperial Roman equivalents of modern worlds and modern crimes. Ode to a Banker is one of the closest of her books to a classic traditional crime novel, in that it deals with a murder in a small enclosed world, with likely suspects whose motives have to be gone through by interrogation and legwork--the first of the bodies is even found in a library. Chrysippus was a banker and a publisher, owner of a minor scriptorium where not especially accurate copies of manuscripts are made by dictation; he is found with the centre rod from a scroll stuffed up his nose. Falco himself is momentarily a suspect--he had a row with Chrysippus who offered to vanity publish Falco's poems--but soon finds himself the official investigator, sub-contracting the job for his friends in the Watch. This is as elegantly picturesque in its portrait of the Emperor Vespasian's crowded metropolis as Davis has ever been; the soap opera of Falco's extended and disreputable family continues apace and amid all the snazzy puzzles, we get a real sense of a lively mind busy at work. -- Roz KaveneyReview:
'A rollicking narrative . . . this sees its award-winning author in excellent form’ -- Frances Fyfield, Express
'One of the best of the current writers in this field' -- Donna Leon, Sunday Times
'One of the best’ -- Sunday Times
‘A superb example…her witty and literate Falco novels are models of the genre’ -- The Times
‘A witty satire of publishing and banking with striking contemporary resonace . . . hot, noisy, smelly and full of unforgettable characters’ -- Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
‘Fast moving, funny and full of atmosphere’ -- Mail on Sunday
‘If only all best-sellers were this satisfying. Uniquely entertaining’ -- Time Out
‘Wonderful, great fun all round’ -- Daily Telegraph
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Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099298201