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One Virgin Too Many

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One Virgin Too Many

Marcus Didius Falco Mystery Series, Book 11
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Marcus Didius Falco, the cynical, hard-boiled investigator from the rough end of Rome, is back from a difficult mission in North Africa. As a result of his hard work, Emperor Vespasian awards Falco...
Marcus Didius Falco, the cynical, hard-boiled investigator from the rough end of Rome, is back from a difficult mission in North Africa. As a result of his hard work, Emperor Vespasian awards Falco...
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Description-
  • Marcus Didius Falco, the cynical, hard-boiled investigator from the rough end of Rome, is back from a difficult mission in North Africa. As a result of his hard work, Emperor Vespasian awards Falco with the title of Procurator of Poultry for the Senate & People of Rome, or keeper of the city's sacred geese. Not much of a salary, of course, but the title does give him a better standing with his in-laws. Now, all Falco wants is to spend time relaxing at home with his family. But there is no rest for Falco as he finds himself drawn into the world of the Roman religious cults...& the murder of a member of the Sacred Brotherhoods. And then there's the disappearance of the most likely new candidate for the Order of Vestal Virgins. Falco soon uncovers a sinister cover-up & is too deeply involved to back away from the truth.

 
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  • From the book
    I

    I had just come home after telling my favorite sister that her husband had been eaten by a lion. I was in no mood for greeting a new client.

    Some informers might welcome any chance to flourish their schedule of charges. I wanted silence, darkness, oblivion. Not much hope, since we were on the Aventine Hill, in the noisiest hour of a warm May evening, with all Rome opening up for commerce and connivance. Well, if I couldn't expect peace, at least I deserved a drink. But the child was waiting for me outside my apartment halfway down Fountain Court, and as soon as I spotted her on the balcony I guessed that refreshments would have to wait.

    My girlfriend, Helena, was always suspicious of anything too pretty that arrived in a very short tunic. Had she made the would-be customer wait outside? Or had the smart little girl taken one look at our apartment and refused to venture indoors? She was probably linked to the luxurious carrying chair with a Medusa boss on its smoothly painted half door that was parked below the balcony. Our meager home might strike her as highly undesirable. I hated it myself.

    On what passed for a portico, she had found herself the stool that I used for watching the world go by. As I came up the worn steps from the alley, my first acquaintance was with a pair of petite, well-manicured white feet in gold-strapped sandals, kicking disconsolately against the balcony rail. With the thought of Maia's four children, frightened and tearful, still burning my memory, that was all the acquaintance I wanted. I had too many problems of my own.

    Even so, I noticed that the little person on my stool had qualities I would once have welcomed in a client. She was female. She looked attractive, confident, clean, and well dressed. She appeared to be good for a fat fee too. A profusion of bangles was clamped on her plump arms. Green glass beads with glinting spacers tangled in the four-color braid on the neck of her finely woven tunic. Adept boudoir maids must have helped to arrange the circle of dark curls around her face and to position the gold net that pegged them in place. If she was showing a lot of leg below the tunic, that was because it was such a short tunic. She handled her smooth emerald stole with unflustered ease when it slid off her shoulders. She looked as if she assumed she could handle me as easily.

    There was one problem. My ideal client, assuming Helena Justina permitted me to assist such a person nowadays, would be a pert widow aged somewhere between seventeen and twenty. I placed this little gem in a far less dangerous bracket. She was only five or six.

    I leaned on the balcony newel post, a rotting timber the landlord should have replaced years ago. When I spoke my voice sounded weary even to me. "Hello, princess. Can't you find the door porter to let you in?" She stared at me scornfully, aware that grimy plebeian apartments did not possess slaves to welcome visitors. "When your family tutor starts to teach you about rhetoric, you will discover that that was a feeble attempt at irony. Can I help you?"

    "I was told an informer lives here." Her accent said she was upper class. I had worked that out. I tried not to let it prejudice me. Well, not too much. "If you are Falco, I want to consult you." It came out clear and surprisingly assured. Chin up and self-confident, the prospective client had the bright address of a star trapeze artiste. She knew what she wanted and expected to be listened to.

    "Sorry, I am not available for hire.

About the Author-
  • Lindsey Davis was born in Birmingham, England. After taking an English degree at Oxford and working for the civil service for 13 years, she "ran away to be a writer." Starting with historical romances, Lindsey struggled to make ends meet until she came up with the idea for Marcus Didius Falco, a PI working in Rome at the end of the first century. She will be the British guest of honor at the Left Coast Crime Conference in Anchorage, Alaska in February 2001.
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    Grand Central Publishing
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One Virgin Too Many
One Virgin Too Many
Marcus Didius Falco Mystery Series, Book 11
Lindsey Davis
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One Virgin Too Many
One Virgin Too Many
Marcus Didius Falco Mystery Series, Book 11
Lindsey Davis
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