When I read Lindsey Davis’s transcribed speech on Pompeii at the end of the ebook, and how she views her Falco novels, I had an ah-ha moment. I was struggling with the idea of a mystery novel revealing the mystery not even three-quarters of the way through the story. What kind of mystery tells whodunnit and then keeps going for chapters plus another Part? One that’s part of a series which the author views as a “Roman ‘The Archers’.” The Archers is a British soap opera, a long-running radio drama.
I read Book One in the series first, then in reverse order, books 4, 3, and now 2. Two unfortunately suffers from the dreaded two-curse. It’s not as good as the other books. There’s something missing in the relationships. I mean, Davis describes them fairly well, but there’s no emotional heft. Maia is Falco’s favourite sister, but other than that, I get no sense of who she is, what kind of person she is, why she’s his favourite sister. You get the drift. I also found Falco a bit annoying in his relationship with Helena Justina. I suppose it’s credible that such a confident man would feel so insecure in his relationship to a Senator’s daughter. But I mean does she need to affirm her love for him in every interaction for fear he’ll go haring off in some poor-me imagining?
It did get better towards the end, although Falco seemed to lack insight into where he went wrong in his thoughts about Helena Justina and why she kept some information from him. Perhaps that’s Davis’s nod towards the obtuseness of men. 😀