Deadly Election: A Flavia Albia Mystery (Flavia Albia Series)
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In the first century A.D., during Domitian's reign, Flavia Albia is ready for a short break from her family. So despite the oppressive July heat, she returns to Rome, leaving them at their place on the coast. Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, the famed private ex-informer, has taken up her father's former profession; it's time to get back to work. The first order of business, however, regards the corpse that was found in a chest sent as part of a large lot to be sold by the Falco family auction house. As the senior family representative in Rome, Albia must identify the corpse, find out why he was killed, who killed him, and most importantly, how he ended up in the chest.
At the same time, a potential young man Faustus comes looking for help with his friend Sextus. Between the auction business and Roman politics, it's not quite clear who is the more underhanded and duplicitous. Both, however, are tied together by the mysterious body, and if Albia isn't able to solve that mystery, it won't be the only body to drop.
onto an old couch and recover my strength. Otherwise, I could shout myself hoarse, which just might summon the building’s porter, Rodan. Given clear instructions and some loose change, he would go for help. Not needed. I made it down to the walkway. I felt better than expected. Aspic salad is full of goodness. Helena Justina might be annoyed with me for running off, but she knew how to impress on me that I still needed a mother. I was the craziest of her four stubborn children, but she would not
saved your dowry from a grasping spouse it enhanced your value to them. How do I know these things? Because I am the one person in Rome who always scans notices and price lists. If words are written, I read them. Helena Justina brought me up that way. * * * Perhaps I should have clarified earlier that Notho and Son were not my bankers. They believed they were. Even my darling papa presumed it, although my mother was more astute. So the Nothos continued to suppose that if I ever had money
nod, over by Puce Tunic, though not visibly associating with him. A pause. I rested and went with it. “Come now, we are surely not all done yet? Do I have any more? If not, I am selling. Last call, fair warning…” The lull seemed about to continue. When I raised my hammer, teasing them, bidding resumed as I expected. I love the rise and fall. I love the sense of steering the event. Dull days are depressing, but here in the sunlight we were having fun today. I understood why my grandfather had
across him before?” “Oh, yes. He acted as a negotiator for several people. Some folk don’t like to come to auctions in person, perhaps out of shyness or fear that they’ll get carried away and bid too much. Or simply the day and time are inconvenient for them.” “Ever had anyone else go back on what their agent did?” “No. Sometimes one receives an earful if he fails to buy a wanted piece, or pays too much. That’s just the rough and tumble of patron and agent,” Maia told me. She added, “And I’ve
business. There was room to have a driver. This permitted more conversation than if Faustus had taken the reins, not that he bothered to talk when we first set out. He picked me up at Fountain Court. I was sleepy-eyed and wishing I could stay in bed. He put me in the back of the carriage, under a rug. He hunched in a cloak, up at the front with the taciturn driver. I felt the jolts as we went downhill, then was aware of curses and sick-making stops and starts as we dawdled through Rome, with all