Enemies at Home (Flavia Albia)
by Lindsey Davis
Review by Mel Jacob
Minotaur Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250068484
Date: 16 June 2015 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Lindsey Davis' new series of mysteries set in ancient Rome continues with Enemies At Home. Flavia Albia is an informer in Rome during the reign of Domitian. When asked by a plebeian aedile to investigate what role the household slaves might have played in the deaths of a newlywed wealthy couple, she discovers the case is anything but simple.
Ten slaves, fearing the authorities will condemn them to death, have fled to the Temple of Ceres and claimed sanctuary. However, the Temple authorities do not want the responsibility and have asked the district aedile Faustus to investigate. He in turn hires Flavia to either clear the slaves or condemn them.
Attacks by thugs on her lawyer uncle only fuels her determination to uncover the truth. With Faustus, she confronts the young son of the chief gangster and discovers vital information about an attempt to rob the dead couple. The robbers entered the home, but injured no one and fled the house in horror when they found the dead couple.
Unfortunately, Flavia knows the slaves are lying about what happened the night of the murders. Fearing for their lives, they have all stuck to the same story. Another murder occurs. However, none of the slaves had left the temple. Flavia's knowledge of people and Roman society play a major role in solving the murders.
Touches of romance between Flavia and Faustus enliven the novel, especially when he cares for her after a serious illness from contaminated water at the murder scene threatens her life.
Davis makes ancient Rome come alive. She captures the nuances of family relationships and how ordinary people lived. She is noted for her popular earlier series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, Flavia's adoptive father. A list of people and a map of Rome are provided. Readers are certain to look forward to Flavia's further adventures.