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!