Flavia Albia is hesitant to take a case recommended by her new husband’s ex-wife, but the death of fifteen-year-old Clodia is too intriguing to pass up. Along the way, her husband Tiberius goes undercover himself as the assistant of a lettuce shop whose products are renowned for their powers of fertility. Soon, Flavia’s investigation introduces her to a vapid and immoral socialite set, members of the underworld gang known as the Rabirii, and a well-connected potion seller named Pandora whose name is on everyone’s lips. To solve the case, Flavia must confront the lies spun by immature children and the lies parents themselves are willing to tell to cover for their offspring’s mistakes.
This book was a slow starter for me. Flavia has never quite sparkled as a narrator as much as her father Marcus Didius Falco did in Lindsey Davis’ previous series. I had trouble following the action at first, although my interest was piqued at about a third of the way into the book. I wish more time had been spent on Tiberius and Flavia’s relationship as they settle into newly married life as only an aedile and an informer can. The story seemed to be an important setup, however, for a reintroduction of the Rabirius gang which played a part in Flavia’s earlier days, and as such, this novel is an important link in the chain of events that are surely to come.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.