cover image The Graveyard of the Hesperides: A Flavia Alba Novel

The Graveyard of the Hesperides: A Flavia Alba Novel

Lindsey Davis. Minotaur, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-07890-2

Davis’s fourth Flavia Albia novel (after 2015’s Deadly Election), a straightforward whodunit set in Rome in 89 C.E., lacks the political backdrop of earlier installments in the series. The arresting opening sentence, “Everyone knew a dead barmaid was buried in the courtyard,” refers to an eating house called the Garden of the Hesperides. Flavia’s fiancé, Manlius Faustus, has just bought a renovation business, and his first job, a holdover from the business’s incompetent previous owner, is to redo the courtyard of the Garden of the Hesperides. When Manlius’s workers uncover some bones, Flavia, among others, wonders whether they are the remains of Rufia, the missing barmaid. Flavia, an informer (the ancient Roman equivalent of a PI) who believes in justice above all else, sets out to identify the remains and solve a very cold case—which becomes more complex after she finds evidence of a previously unsuspected crime. The leads are entertaining, but the resolution isn’t one of Davis’s best. [em](July) [/em]