And so to book five in the “Falco” series and our hero, fresh back from his trip to Germania, returns to the tragic news that his elder brother Festus has died in a ship wreck. Festus was a bit of a schemer it seems, and was on a scam regarding gold and stolen antiques when he died.
So it is down to Falco’s mother to hire Falco to clear the family name and discover what his brother was up to. Whats more, his mother has a legionary lodger who claims to be an old friend of Festus and was owed a lot of money. The following morning he is found murdered and Falco is the chief suspect.
I’ve nothing really to add on the writing style of Davis that I haven’t already said in the previous reviews. After a trip way, Davis clearly felt it was time to bring Falco back to Rome and develop his character some more. This she does through the exploration of his divorced parents. His mother appeared previously; his father, an antiques dealer, is introduced for the first time. In contrast to the character development of Shadows in Bronze, this feels about the right time to be exploring Falco’s family life.