English Mystery Author

Author of the Marcus Didius Falco series of mystery novels, set in First Century Rome. Ms. Davis was born in Birmingham, England and grew up there. She read English at Oxford and joined the civil service. Her first published fiction was a series of romantic stories in Woman's Realm magazine.

She then researched a novel about the First Century Roman Emperor Vespasian and the love between him and his mistress Antonia Caenis. This work inspired her first Falco novel, The Silver Pigs, published in 1989. The novel about Vespatian, Course of Honour, was eventually completed and published in 1997.

She has since that time published fifteen additional novels about Falco's adventures:
Shadows in Bronze (1990)
Venus in Copper (1991)
The Iron Hand of Mars (1992)
Poseidon's Gold (1993)
Last Act in Palmyra (1994)
Time to Depart (1995)
Dying Light in Corduba (1996)
Three Hands in the Fountain (1997)
Two for the Lions (1998)
One Virgin Too Many (1999)
Ode to a Banker (2001)
A Body In The Bathhouse (2002)
The Jupiter Myth (2003)
The Accusers (2003)
Scandal Takes a Holiday (2004)

Ms. Davis has won a number of awards, including Authors' Club Best First Novel award for The Silver Pigs in 1989, Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, Crimewriters' Association Dagger and the Sherlock Award for Best Comic Detective. Her novels have been translated into several languages, audiobooks, a BBC radio serial and a film (Age of Treason, starring Bryan Brown) that Ms. Davis would likely prefer not to remember.

As Ms. Davis got a bit tired of answering miniscule questions and complaints about some of the details of her novels, she now introduces one minor, intentional error into each novel for fact-hounds to find. (I think this is a pretty cool response.)

One thing I find refreshing about Lindsey Davis' books is the continuity of characters' memories and experiences. If something happens to Falco in one book, he may see a similar situation several books later and react accordingly (likely with a wry, "I had seen something like this, and was not to be fooled again!"). That sort of realistic memory and experience makes the characters come alive for the reader.

Lindsey Davis manages to blend very clever and complex characters with intricate, but somehow comprehensible, plots. The interplay between the two primary characters, Falco and Helena, is brilliantly funny and evokes the screwball comedies of yesteryear. Making stories that are funny and still able to keep the readers on the edge of their seats is a rare talent, and Ms. Davis exercises that ability very well. Witty dialogue, unforgettable characters and terrific historical touches make her novels a pleasure to read.

Sometimes criticized by the history buffs for not including more historical detail and the mystery fans for writing too much about ancient Rome and not enough about the mystery, occasionally avoided by American audiences for being "too English," Ms. Davis continues undaunted and her fans greatly anticipate each new work.

The Free Dictionary.com article: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Lindsey%20Davis
Her website: http://www.lindseydavis.co.uk/
My Unicorn's Lindsey Davis bibliography: http://www.myunicorn.com/bibl2/bibl0211.html

Lindsey Davis' detective novels of the Falco series deliver much more than meets the eye. The main stories in each book are thrilling, twisting detective stories that introduce Falco to a series of intriguing characters, each with their own qualities that really bring them to life in the minds eye. Each story has its share of interrogation, knife-fights and brawls - classic components of the detective novel - interweaved with complex relationships with characters that make up the environment that Falco lives in.

As Junkill noted, the interesting feature of this series is the development of the world where Falco lives. Each of the novels starts as the last finishes, so we are given in the sixteen (so far) novels in the series, a continuous five-year period in the life of Marcus Didius Falco, citizen of Rome. This means that if you read the series as a whole, it becomes so much more than a series of detective stories. You follow the entire world of Falco, his family and friends as they progress through their lives.
For example; Through the series you follow the progression of Falco's character from a rowdy barfly to a respected private detective, his travels of the world, having his first child, the deaths of relatives. You follow his sister's plight when she is hounded from book to book by a seedy palace official, and the entire relationship with his wife, from their first meeting to.. well, you know.

Another aspect of this series worth mentioning is that each book deals with a different aspect of Roman life, or the cultures of different parts of the empire.
For example; 'The Iron Hand Of Mars' deals with how the Roman military machine worked, 'Ode to a Banker' dealt with how banks and finances worked, and 'One Virgin Too Many' explains how religion was observed in the ancient times. Each book is a delicately handled history lesson, told through the observations of the main character.

Lindsey Davis' books bring to light the everyday workings of life in ancient Rome. While from looking at the ruins of the period we can see how the rich lived, these meticulously researched books give us a fascinating insight into the other side of roman life, life in the six floor wooden tenement blocks of the proletariate. And great stories to boot!

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