- Release Date 2010
book publication date 2010
- BBC AUDIO
- 10 CDs, length 11hrs 30 mins
- Product no. 9781408467664
- Narrator Christian Rodska
- Source: one of the audio books we won at CrimeFest 2011
- Shortlisted for a Crime Fest Sounds of Crime Award 2011
The usual ‘Plot Summary’ would be too revealing.
The book’s title says it all – no, it doesn’t suggest the half of it…
The Chief Spy’s beauty salon is not for the squeamish.
Falco takes a bodyblow from two personal tragedies, then is hammered by good fortune - even harder to endure. Escaping the demands of family life, he makes the first of several trips to the coast where he stumbles upon a mystery. Unexpected disappearances of innocent citizens are the relief he needs.
Soon Petronius has an interest too. The friends have shared plenty of grim adventures but now it’s Petro’s turn to get stuck with a hideous location and horrible suspects, in this case the dread Pontine Marshes where the air exudes death and a foul bunch of freedmen to whom ‘friends at court’ is a talisman. Nobody wants the Claudii for neighbours – and nobody wants them in Rome either.
One evil location precedes several that are worse. There are heart-broken women and manipulative men, singers to shun, caterers to curse, Anacrites makes friends by hosting a dinner party (‘Don’t eat the mushrooms’ advises Glaucus) then two families collide; one of them will disintegrate, but few will escape damage. Even Falco and Petro are to learn shocking things about themselves.
The subject is families – so expect it to be dark.
This is the one where Nero (aka Spot) has his mugshot drawn.
I have not read all of the Marcus Didius Falco series and this is #20. I was better off than my listening companion because I at least had read #19 ALEXANDRIA to which I gave 4.3.
This particular novel has a large canvas and a huge cast of characters. The narrator Christian Rodska does a marvellous job of distinguishing between characters by using a range of regional British accents.
Descriptions in NEMESIS tend to be very detailed and slow the pace of the novel down. At the same time the plot twists and turns down pathways the reader could not have foreseen. Lindsey Davis has a quirky sense of humour and that comes out through Didius Falco's epithets and similes.
If you'd like to read the first chapter or so click on the image to the right. The printed version has the advantage of a couple of pages of a cast of characters too.
My rating: 4.2