Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis

Finding an enjoyable new mystery series is always an unexpected pleasure.  It’s sometimes especially hard for me because I don’t like to read about graphic violence or sex, and I can’t read anything too scary without having nightmares.  (I realize that last sentence makes me sound like either a prude or a ten year old, neither of which is true.)  Back to the point, I’ve discovered a new mystery series that I think I’m going to love.  The Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis is set in ancient Rome, so not only do you become immersed in a good plot, you also learn about the everyday lives of the ancient Romans.  The first book in the series is called The Silver Pigs, but it’s not about the oinking kind of pig.  The “good guy” characters are likeable, which is a requirement for me to really like a book.  I might enjoy a book or learn from it without liking the characters, but I find it difficult to rate a book a favorite if I can’t feel something positive about at least some of the characters.  Didius Falco is my kind of person:  good without pretense or piety, witty, sometimes sarcastic, and more than a little cynical.  The main female character, Helena Justina, I also like.  She’s left behind the life and marriage that were planned for her by her father because it was not the life she wanted, but she suffers silently for this break with conventionality. Throughout the book, I was pretty sure I knew who the villain was, but this plot transparency didn’t matter, because I was enjoying the other aspects of the book so much.  One interesting note:  until I was almost finished reading and looked at the author’s bio page, I thought the author was a man.  I’m not sure why; the book just felt like it had been written by a man.   I won’t have time right now to read the second book in the series, Shadows in Bronze, but it will definitely go on my To Be Read list

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