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Alexandria: (Falco 19) by Lindsey Davis
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Alexandria: (Falco 19) (edition 2010)

by Lindsey Davis (Author)

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4932520,740 (3.77)30
Member:paulmorriss
Title:Alexandria: (Falco 19)
Authors:Lindsey Davis (Author)
Info:Arrow (2010), 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**1/2
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Alexandria by Lindsey Davis

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
If this story had not been set in ancient Egypt it would have very little going for it. Whilst it was a murder mystery, my favourite genre, and the only reason I gave it three stars, it could have had a contemporary setting anywhere in the world. As an audiobook it was worth listening to, but was lacking as a story. ( )
  DCarlin | Jan 23, 2016 |
Against the backdrop of ancient Roman Alexandria, in the shadow of the Pharos lighthouse and the Great Library, Marcus Didius Falco undertakes a new murder investigation. Falco finds himself becoming uncomfortably familiar with the scholars of the library as he searches for the killer of the library head. Davis again delivers a first rate mystery while familiarizing the reader with the people and customs of the Egyptian city. Falco remains the observer of seedy living with his wry, often hilarious comments, with his wife Helena Justina at his side.in this 19th entry in the Falco series. Highly recommended. ( )
  NickHowes | Jan 3, 2016 |
A return to form after the rather confused and confusing Saturnalia. Lots of interesting background information; might even be worth re-reading. ( )
  gwernin | Jul 15, 2014 |
An interesting combo of historic fiction and mystery. The protagonist is Marcus Didius Falco who is traveling to Alexandria to visit some of the Egyptian sites with his family. On his 'must see' list are the usual wonders of the ancient world (Lighthouse at Alexandria and the Pyramids at Giza)as well as the library of Alexandria. But Falco's vacation plans take a drastic change when the head librarian is found dead. As Falco starts investigating the death, other minor characters start dropping like flies and the plot becomes pretty convoluted.

I found the mystery portion of the story to be interesting and I enjoyed the tidbits of information about ancient Alexandria. But, the presentation of this information was awkward. Davis doesn't 'show' as much as 'tell' and to present some historical research she resorts to various characters stopping all of the mystery action with a lecture on the culture of ancient Egypt. Good narration and some humorous banter made this a light but enjoyable listen. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
This is number nineteen in a series of excellent detective stories set in Vespasian's Roman Empire and featuring the informer Marcus Didius Falco. It has perhaps the best opening in the series so far:

"They say you can see the Lighthouse from thirty miles away. Not in the day, you can't."

Twenty years have passed since the first Falco title SILVER PIGS first graced the bookstore shelves. As chronicled in his past adventures, life-changing things have befallen Falco. Seven years have elapsed from the events in SILVER PIGS to this latest adventure. Falco has certainly flourished, having gone from being merely a seedy informer from the Aventine ghettos - "informing" being generally regarded as a pretty contemptible vocation - to now flaunting a sort of middle-class respectability (although he's still very much an informer, and still despised in certain quarters). Falco is now a family man, having married the brilliant Helena Justina some time ago and now father to two young girls, an orphaned teenage girl adopted on one of his trips to strife-torn Britain, and one mangy dog. His social status has been elevated not only by his marriage to a Senator's daughter and his purchase of his new social ranking, but also by his taking on occasional troubleshooting missions for the Emperor. Falco is older, wiser, and perhaps more tactful. But he's still got that quick wit and that sarcasm down. As ever, Helena Justina is his match, banter for banter and clue for clue.

It is spring AD77. Helena Justina has always wanted to see all of the "Seven Wonders of the World". In early books, they’ve seen a couple of these, so she still has some way to go. She’s now several months pregnant with their third child, and thinks this will be her last chance for some time to travel.

When Helena gets an invitation to pay a family visit to Falco's shady Uncle Fulvius and his life partner Cassius, in Alexandria, she realises that accepting the invitation would give her the opportunity to see three more wonders. These are the Colossus of Rhodes (which they have already seen on the way to Alexandria before the start of the book), the Pharos or Great Lighthouse at Alexandria, and the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza.

Such a trip would also enable them to visit to the Great Library at Alexandria. This is propitious, as it turns out that Emperor Vespasian has a little job he wants done which requires a trip to the Library. Helena’s ne’er-do-well brother Aulus is also looking to continue his studies and is seeking a position at the Library. So, Falco accepts the mission and they set of for Alexandria with the family.

The evening of their arrival, Uncle Fulvius has arranged a dinner to introduce them to the director of the Library, Theon. Cassius goes all out with the catering, and a good time is had by all.

But the next morning, a centurion interrupts their breakfast with the news that there is a body in the Great Library. Unfortunately, Theon has been found dead in a locked room the day after Fulvius' dinner party -- and a necropsy (an autopsy with a cooler name) reveals that he had eaten oleander. Was it suicide, or murder? As Falco is known to be the Emperor's fixer, he is asked to investigate - with the help of Helena and Aulus. They soon discover that, for all its lofty goals and ideals, the Library's faculty is actually a hotbed of grudges, sexual competition, infighting and ambition. You know, a normal workplace.

Davis delivers some nice tidbits in this book, weaving new threads into the lives of her characters and creating the promise of more wonderfully entertaining stories to come. And of course, it contains all the intrigue, red herrings, family issues, humour and action that a Marcus Didius and Helena fan could hope for. And I hope that everyone else enjoys this as much as I did. ( )
  Jawin | Nov 27, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lindsey Davisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rodska, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Michelle. With thanks for being an intrepid travel companion and guide, And apologies for the culture shock, the sandstorm, the closed museum and THAT airport.
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They say you can see the Lighthouse from thirty miles away.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312379013, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In A.D. 77, Marcus Didius Falco, agent to the Emperor Vespasian, investigates the mysterious death of the head librarian of the world-famous library of Alexandria, bringing him into immediate conflict with the darker side of academic life.

(summary from another edition)

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