Alexandria PDF/EPUB µ Hardcover


  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Alexandria
  • Lindsey Davis
  • English
  • 06 November 2016
  • 9781846052873

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AlexandriaLindsey Davis is well known for her Marcus Didius Falco historical mysteries and this one is number nineteen in the series From the back coverIn A D 77 Marcus Didius Falco private “informer” and stalwart Roman citizen undertakes one of the most fearsome tasks known to man—he goes on vacation with his somewhat pregnant wife Helena Justina and their family They travel to Alexandria Egypt and they aren’t there long before the Librarian of the great library is found dead under suspicious circumstances in his office with the door locked from the inside Falco uickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings malfeasance deadly professional rivalry bodies and the lowest of the low—book thieves As the bodies pile up it’s up to Falco to untangle this horrible mess before the killer begins to strike closer to homeThis lighthearted description closely matches the tone of the book modern attitudes and dialog set in ancient times This book is funny Yes there are mysteries bodies and the occasional brush with death but the reader knows just as in their favorite Agatha Christie book or crime TV show that the main characters will live to solve another mystery and crack another joke It’s a formula that works or this wouldn’t be the nineteenth in the series Readers come back for the familiar characters the well researched history and the humorous writing The humor in this book is based on the thesis that “human nature never changes”—the sneering society matron the bored bureaucrat the absent minded professor the perpetual student—are all familiar stereotypes and nothing in the story challenges our imagination about the past The people are just like us with a bit of history and mystery thrown in Here’s Falco’s assessment of his brother in law’s ambitionsLike all students immediately his family thought he was finally settling down in a prestigious extremely expensive university he heard through some grapevine that there was better teaching at another one Or better parties and the chance of a better love life anywayHis father would pay for it The senator a diligent tolerant man would just be thankful that Aulus had not—so far—expressed a wish to be a gladiator a master forger or a writer of ten scroll epic poetryBecause the setting of the murder is the famous Library on the grounds of the Museum the most celebrated learning center in ancient times we even have the benefit of a CSI like autopsy and specialists in poison and mechanics Scholars at the Museum and Library are secretive with their research jealous of each others’ favor and united only in their contempt for the Museum’s administration One of my favorite scenes is a back biting academic board meeting which could have taken place in my former place of employmentAnd if the reader gets a dose of history while enjoying the mystery? Great Davis provides a wonderfully researched book with lots of details on food clothing geography architecture and the state of science Because I’ve researched Alexandria for my books and blog posts I had an eagle eye out for errors I found nothing of any significance So if you’re interested in a fun read where you might inadvertently learn something this book is for you Don’t worry about it being part of a series; it stands on its own just finePlease note I purchased this book and the opinions are mine This is an excerpt of a longer review posted on my blog The new Falco novel finds Lindsey Davis’s First Century detective Marcus Didius Falco and his partner Helena Justina investigating crime in the famous city of AlexandriaFor Marcus Didius Falco agent to the Emperor Vespasian Alexandria holds fascination and a hint of fear Beautiful historic and famously unruly the great cosmopolitan city wears Roman rule lightly While his wife Helena Justina wants to see the Lighthouse and the Pyramids Falco has a mission at the Great Library that soon turns out to involve much than stock taking its innumerable scrollsA mysterious death in the library brings him into conflict with the darker side of academic life With forensic science in its infancy even an illegal autopsy fails to find real answers To solve the crime for the Roman Prefect — if indeed it is a crime — Falco will have to draw on his own doggedness and intuition at first supported only by Helena’s commonsense and the loyal backup of her brother Aulus who goes undercover as a student among the in fighting academics The philosophers hunger after fame and fortune so ruthlessly there is soon another terrifying death this time at the royal zooIt so happens that his Uncle Fulvius is living in Alexandria with his partner Cassius Their involvement in local affairs already seems shady when they are joined by their crony Falco’s father Geminus a man well known for disreputable business practices If the irrepressible Pa has had a hand in events at the library Falco knows he stands no chance It is always a pleasure to go traipsing about the ancient Roman Empire with Marcus Didius Falco and his partner in life and detection Helena Justina This time we're all in Alexandria because Helena Justina wants to see the Great Pyramid of Giza before she gives birth to their third childOf course where Falco goes mysterious deaths seem to follow and so it is in Alexandria even in the halls of the Great Library In fact the first one to die is the librarian but not the last There seems a virtual epidemic of suspicious deaths in old Alexandria and Falco as the emperor's agent is expected to sort it all out hopefully without creating or exposing a scandalIn the midst of all this Falco's detested Papa shows up to consult with Uncle Fulvius with whom Falco and his entourage are ensconced for their visit Geminus' arrival confirms for Falco that something dodgy is afoot and it seems to involve the scrolls of the Great LibraryAs the body count rises in truly horrible fashion Falco sets about with his brother in law Aulus to solve the mysteries and stop the carnage and maybe to stop whatever illegal enterprise his father and uncle may be involved in For the long time reader of this series there can be no doubt that in the end they will be successfulLindsey Davis is a highly talented writer whose books are impeccably researched and who manages to impart a lot of information about the Roman Empire in the course of entertaining us Once you start reading one of her Falco books it is very hard to put it down and yet you want to prolong the pleasure for as long as possible It's always with a bittersweet regret that I turn that last page Marcus Didius Falco is on a family holiday again; this time in Alexandria I say holiday but as usual things don't go entirely to plan It's not long before he gets involved in the murky world surrounding the famous library and it's somewhat isolated and eccentric staffI will say straightaway that the Falco books which are set away from Rome can be a little formulaic It can seem that the author changes the location to show off her latest research about a place or event and this has led on occasion to the story being something of an afterthought The same criticism can be made of this book The story is multi layered and uite complex as usual There is also a lot of detail about the city and especially the workings of the great libraryBut all that detail gets in the way of Falco and his family which lets face it is why we read the books in this series In this volume Falco is not uite his usual self He seems to have lost much of his humour and light touch and Helena plays a much smaller part than usual which is a shameThe cast of characters is as varied as usual but a little less rounded There are crimes misdemeanours and murders aplenty The tension between Roman authorities and the old order over which they are laid is dealt with well Indeed the very reason why Falco is investigating events is that the local officials are than happy to have an outsider causing potential ructions while they themselves can get on doing as little as possibleWhen Falco's father suddenly appears on the scene events gradually move a little too close to home Add to that the appearance of Thallia an exotic snake dancer and purveyor of circus animals who is an old acuaintance of Falco and Helena things start to get a bit out of hand And far confusingIt's an enjoyable read as usual but and I hesitate to say this there is perhaps too much going on; too many unlikely occurrences I know that the next volume will be the last in the Falco series and I wonder if this book has become too much of a setup for the denouement to come I am a big fan of Falco and Lindsey Davis' mystery novel set in Roman times However I do not think this was one of my favourite books of the series It had such a promising premise library Alexandria Egypt but the story seemed kind of flat at some point Nevertheless the characters make up for the story and I love the wit gently offered by Falco's wife Helena Justina I also like her brother Aulus and Marcus' and Helena's adopted daughter Albia although I wish her character had a bigger part in the plot of the story I particularly enjoyed the book with her being the main sleuth and taking over her father As usual I loved the way the author describes the setting and gives subtle information on the events surrounding the place In this case I truly enjoyed reading about how the Library of Alexandria functioned All in all it was uite an entertaining read and it was what I needed to save me from my reading slump I like historical fiction and the Roman empire but when this turned into a locked room mystery I gave up The significance between Roman vs Egyptian locks looked like it would take up too much page space Another great story Something different It has been awhile since I read a mystery but I have always enjoyed them working my way through Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle when I was still a child I was lured to read the work of Lindsey Davis by a review at Barnes and Noble Her work is set in ancient Rome and well researched I am always game for exotic locales and history The gumshoe of her novels is Marcus Didius Falco a Roman citizen and informer for the emperor Set in AD 77 there are a few discrepancies including the use of the curse «bloody» which I thought unlikely from a non Christian of the age as it is a abomination of By Our Lady; but since the detective spent time in Britain maybe it had evolved At any rate the story was interesting involving the famous library of Alexandria already at this date on the wane I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of a female hero Helena Falco’s wife who aids him in his investigation There are witty passages of familial complications an ageless device to break the plot This is a book worth reading for setting alone if you like that sort of thing Alexandriaby Lindsey Davis CenturySet in Roman times the story tells how Marcus Didius Falco the Emperor’s fixer and his wife Helena Justina who is expecting their next child visit Falco’s Uncle in Alexandria Helena is anxious to see two of the Seven Wonders of the World However almost as soon as they arrive there is a suspicious death in the Great Library and Falco is asked investigate During the investigation another body is found I found this to be a very exciting ‘who dunnit’ Lindsey Davis enthralls the reader with her vivid descriptions of the Ancient city of Alexandria as Falco seeks out the truth behind the sudden deaths in the Great Library Falco is a believable character not afraid to ask for help when he needs it Aware of his wife’s subtle charm he often calls upon her to accompany him when faced with hostility from the academics This is a good read with plenty of characters to keep the reader guessing right up until Falco brings the mystery to a dramatic conclusion Probably just me but I found book 19 a trifle bit tired compared to earlier books in the series Or maybe I'm ready like Falco to get back to Rome and the familiar faces thereStill a great read especially for those of us who work in libraries and can get vicarious laughs at the all too familiar trials and tribulations of librarians working at the Library of Alexandria And yes like one of the previous reviewers I was definitely getting Hitchcockian vibes when Falco pursues one suspect to the top of the Lighthouse of Alexandria Davis has a wonderful ability to convey the sense that she's done her research on Ancient Rome and its environs while creating characters institutions and situations that are all too familiar to those of us living in the 21st century


About the Author: Lindsey Davis

Lindsey Davis historical novelist was born in Birmingham England in 1949 Having taken a degree in English literature at Oxford University Lady Margaret Hall she became a civil servant She left the civil service after 13 years and when a romantic novel she had written was runner up for the 1985 Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize she decided to become a writer writing at first romanti