Falco: See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries)

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9781408468029: Falco: See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries)

Falco and Helena hear that a young girl and a newly-wed woman, both Roman visitors, have been murdered at Olympia. The authorities will not investigate properly, so Falco steps in. After making himself unwelcome at the hidebound sanctuary, he soon finds himself up against Seven Sights, its absentee tour-guide and its mixed bunch of customers, some of whom have things to hide. The search for culture is far from genteel - and it can be very dangerous. Both the bridegroom and Helena's brother go missing in the birthplace of myth, as Falco and Helena struggle with a case that may contain worse features than any they have dealt with yet..."Evocative...Reassuringly modern...It is little wonder that so many find it pleasant and undemanding to go on holiday with this version of Philip Marlowe in a toga". ("Times Literary Supplement"). "Surely the best historical detective in the business". ("Daily Express"). Christian Rodska reads Lindsey Davis' bestselling Marcus Didius Falco novel - complete and unabridged.

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Stunned by a dramatic appeal from his otherwise cool mother-in-law, Falco cannot resist. His brother-in-law, Aulus, has been diverted from his route to Athens University by a man whose newly married daughter disappeared, with her husband, while visiting the Olympic Games as part of an extended wedding trip. Suspecting a classic cover-up, Aulus enrolls Falco's help in solving the case. And of course his mother-in-law hopes to hurry her son along to university by passing the case over to Falco.

Joining the rest of the married couple's tour group on the remains of their Grand Tour, Falco and Helena seize the opportunity to interview the owner/manager of 'Seven Sights Travel', as well as the other guests. Seemingly not getting very far, they can at least make the most of the splendid sights; but finally, on reaching Delphi, Falco and Helena unravel the mystery of the bride and groom ...


See Delphi and Die is built, like several of Lindsay Davis' recent episodes of the adventures of her Roman private detective Falco, around the fact that the ancient world had a surprising number of versions of amenities we consider modern. Here, for example, we get the Roman tourist industry, with the newly rich and the old gentry buying package trips that might last for years, and that take them to the games at Olympia, to the oracle at Delphi and to the sights of Athens. When young women on these tours start turning up dead, Falco persuades the authorities to let him investigate. This is a classic whodunit as well as a Classical one--we get to know the tour party well and follow Falco and his wife Helena Justina as they piece together the inconsistencies and untruths in everyone's stories.

Like many of Lindsay Davis' books, See Delphi and Die is inventive in the twists and turns of its plot and includes one of the nastier last page twists of narrative she has ever imagined. The only real weakness here is that over seventeen books, Davis has built up a large cast of supporting characters and has to find in every book tasks for some of them to do, producing rather too many red herrings in the process. --Roz Kaveney

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