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Three Hands In The Fountain


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One of the Roman novels from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series

About the Author

Lindsey Davis has written over twenty historical novels, beginning with The Course of Honour. Her bestselling mystery series features laid-back First Century detective Marcus Didius Falco and his partner Helena Justina, plus friends, relations, pets and bitter enemy the Chief Spy. After an English degree at Oxford University Lindsey joined the Civil Service, but became a professional author in 1989. Her books are translated into many languages and have been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. Her many prizes include the Premio Colosseo, awarded by the Mayor of Rome 'for enhancing the image of Rome', the Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective and the Crimewriters' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. For more information, please visit


YA-Set in first-century Rome, this fast-paced mystery is narrated by a cynical, hard-boiled hero with an imperfectly concealed soft spot for his family. Marcus Didius Falco is back in Rome after an extended trip to Spain. His mother is trying to get him to take on a new partner: his enemy, the former Chief Spy, Anacrites. Falco's friend Petronius Longus is on suspension and in danger of becoming an ex-vigile now that his wife has reported his affair with a married woman who has ties to organized crime. Falco is able to dodge Anacrites by taking Petro on as a partner, but their lives become complicated after they discover a decomposed hand in a fountain. More body parts turn up in the water supply, and it soon becomes clear that someone has been murdering and dismembering women at major festivals for years. The authorities have tried to cover it up to prevent a riot over contaminated water, but now Falco has been given the task of finding the killer before he strikes again. Davis vividly describes life during the period, but the story is never overwhelmed by historical detail. Although the book can stand alone, fans of Falco and his wife Helena will be delighted to encounter familiar characters, from Falco's many sisters and disreputable brothers-in-law to Helena's supposedly more refined aristocratic relations. A riveting, suspenseful, witty read with lots of historical flavor.-Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Uniquely entertaining * Time Out *
Bizarre, funny and satisfying * Irish Times *
One of the best of the current writers in this field * Sunday Times *
As always, Davis wears her research lightly, bringing Ancient Rome to vivid life in a series of delicious vignettes * Manchester Evening News *
Lindsey Davis's excellent and funny series [is] a cross between I, Claudius and Mystery! * Rocky Mountain News *

Secret-agent/sleuth Marcus Didius Falco (A Dying Light in Cordoba, etc.) returns with gusto for another case of mystery and intrigueÄthis time involving a serial killerÄin ancient Rome. As the novel opens, Falco has just come back from a perilous mission to Baetican Spain and is ready to tackle his new role as father to his first-born daughter. But his commitment to paternal responsibilities begins to lag when he and his old friend, Petronius Longus, make a gory discoveryÄof a severed human hand in one of Rome's many fountains. As the inquisitive buddies do some reconnaissance work, encountering similar body parts in the Roman water supply, they learn that there is, in fact, a tradition of corpses circulating in the waterworks. Furthermore, these dead bodies often appear after public festivals. The threat of contaminated aqueducts coupled with the imminent Roman Games brings Falco and Petro to confront the authorities on the matter. Official desire to keep the problem under wraps forces the pair to determine the killer's identity on their own, with the help of Helena (Falco's wife), Anacrites (a spy and boarder in Falco's mother's home) and other toga-wearing tipsters. Once again, Davis weaves an intricate, irreverent plot filled with wittily imagined characters. (Apr.)

In Davis's latest mystery featuring Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman gumshoe teams with old friend Petronius Longus to discover who is assaulting and murdering young women during festival time and then tossing their chopped-up remains into the city's reservoirs. Slow to start but with the usual good historical detail and ironic wit; necessary where historicals are popular.

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