Enemies at Home: A Flavia Albia Novel (Flavia Albia Series)
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"There are rules for private informers accepting a new case. Never take on clients who cannot pay you. Never do favours for friends. Don't work with relatives. If, like me, you are a woman, keep clear of men you find attractive.
"Will I never learn?"
In Ancient Rome, the number of slaves was far greater than that of free citizens. As a result, often the people Romans feared most were the "enemies at home," the slaves under their own roofs. Because of this, Roman law decreed that if the head of a household was murdered at home, and the culprit wasn't quickly discovered, his slaves―all of them, guilty or not―were presumed responsible and were put to death. Without exception.
When a couple is found dead in their own bedroom and their house burglarized, some of their household slaves know what is about to happen to them. They flee to the Temple of Ceres, which by tradition is respected as a haven for refugees. This is where Flavia Albia comes in. The authorities, under pressure from all sides, need a solution. Albia, a private informer just like her father, Marcus Didius Falco, is asked to solve the murders, in this mystery from Lindsey Davis.
on crutches, for leaving that man in the cells. It’s a bloodbath!” “Just up your street then, hard man.” Titianus stared at me as if he thought I was being satirical at his expense. He was slow, but like everyone else around me on this case, he was learning. As he showed me out, he darted off into a side room and came out with an iron collar. “This will secure him.” “So much easier if every slave who is liable to wander has an I-have-run-away dog collar riveted on, with a return address!” I
kept coming downstairs and hanging about, near his mother. He failed to settle down with Polycarpus and Graecina. Whenever he was unhappy, he came moping to mother. Later, when he heard Myla was to be sold, I suppose Cosmus thought he would lose her altogether … Did that make him very upset?” “Yes, Albia, he was,” said Olympe, solemnly. “Isn’t it awful?” “Indeed. Myla was in anguish too, of course, trying to blank what was happening to her after all those years living in the same family,
this Florius. I hated him, with good reason. Even the thought of him, or anyone connected to him, agitated me. Justinus did not explain to the aedile. I never talked about the past but Faustus was shrewd. He had caught the nuance. * * * My uncle, frowning, chewed an apple and fell silent as he remembered past adventures. Manlius Faustus, looking thoughtful, took up the story. Like the Balbinus empire, the Rabirii ran lowlife bars, also engaging in stealing and prostitution rackets, much
dealt with this. Doubts must have been running through all our minds. I was sure the useless slob of a tribune would either cave in just to save himself bother, or he would be influenced by gain. When Gallo asked “How much?” that seemed to be the clincher. But Gallo was about to be caught out by a technicality. The Rabirii did not extend their criminal reach to the Aventine, so they had never bought off Cassius Scaurus, tribune of the Fourth. As a result, he could pretend to a high-mindedness
full of graveyards, though now some parts have been reclaimed and fancied up. People who think themselves quite grand nestle alongside workshops with unneighborly trades and the destitute. On the city side of the old embankment lurks Nero’s Golden House, a madman’s playground that once covered the Forum and beyond. Down at the bottom of the Esquiline stands the Temple of Minerva Medica. Up at the top is the Market of Livia, named after the Empress who also built an elegant Porticus in this