Davis, Lindsey - 'See Delphi and Die'
I am always a bit ambivalent about books that are part of a long series. Too often as the series progresses the author tends to run out of steam, or ideas, or even both.
So I approached SEE DELPHI AND DIE with a degree of trepidation. Happily in this instance my fears were unfounded. Although this is the seventeenth book in the Marcus Didius Falco series, Lindsey Davis has produced a little gem.
The series is set in Ancient Rome during the reign of Vespasian and features Falco, an informer or private investigator.
This book sees Falco and wife, Helena, travelling to Greece to investigate a tour operator whose customers have a habit of dying in mysterious circumstances. This provides ample opportunity for humour at the expense of tourists, tour operators, guides and hoteliers - there's even a pop at the Olympics as the travellers visit the site of the ancient games. It's staged a bit like an Agatha Christie novel with a closed cast of suspects which dwindles further as other members of the group are "bumped off".
In these later novels in the series, Falco has mellowed rather, due to marriage and fatherhood, and the humour has a lighter touch. But if the novels have lost some of the darkness that characterised the earlier ones, they are, surprisingly, no less enjoyable for that.
Davis handles a large and varied cast of characters, old and new, with aplomb and moves the plot along swiftly, while keeping the humour flowing. I won't spoil your enjoyment by revealing more of the plot, but just watch out for the ending - it's a cracker!
Pat Austin, England