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Davis (Nemesis) ingeniously breathes life into her Ancient Rome series, which has reached 20 books, by shifting the focus from Marcus Didius Falco to his adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, who follows in her father's footsteps by becoming an investigator. Salvidia, the owner of a business that refurbishes bars, retains Flavia to avoid liability after an out-of-control company cart kills a three-year-old boy. Before Flavia can really get to work, Salvidia dies, despite having been in good health. As Flavia begins to ask questions, she's disturbed to learn that other Romans have also dropped dead suddenly. Unsettled by her inquiries, the powers-that-be seek to avoid a panic resulting from word getting out that foul play may be involved. The solution isn't one of Davis's most dexterous, but the smooth transition between leads provides hope that Flavia could have as long a literary run as Marcus. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Fans of Davis' best-selling series featuring first-century Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco will welcome the arrival of this spin-off centered on Falco's spirited adopted daughter, Flavia Albia. The lovely young woman, who has had a minor but memorable presence in the previous series entries, is known for her intellectual acumen and acid tongue. Now she puts those traits on display in a series debut that's both suspenseful and sly. (Would we expect anything less of the talented Davis?) As the novel opens, Flavia Albia has taken over her father's rundown digs at Fountain Court in the Surbura district of Rome, where she's faced with a most unsavory client. (Alas, work is work, and, as a neophyte investigator, she can't afford to be particular.) Flavia Albia's windfall turns to woe when her charge is found dead. To make matters worse, she is suspected of having a hand in the crime. Like her father, Flavia Albia relies on levity and level-headedness to find her way out of trouble. Davis delights once again with her trademark blend of quirky characters and rich period detail. Given the author's prolific nature (the Falco series has 20-plus installments), readers can anticipate Flavia Albia to be a compelling presence for years to come.--Block, Allison Copyright 2010 Booklist