This latest addition to the Flavia Albia series, not to mention the Falco series, is a sit on the edge of your seat thriller.
Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have a decided fondness for authors who can create, and sustain, a series with characters and locations that are compelling. In this case, two series.
For those of us Falco Fans, Albia comes face to face with people that Falco and Helena encountered 15 (20?) years prior. It wasn’t a joyful situation.
This situation adds layers to the tapestry that Davis created when she developed both the Falco and Albia series. There is some cross-pollination simply because of the ebb and flow of people that come and go in our lives.
The killings are brutal. There is no doubt that whoever came up with the scenarios (yes, plural) is creative. The horror of discovery is matched by the desperate search to find and stop those responsible. Motive is a huge question – why were these people killed? The answers are chilling on several levels.
As I listened I found myself in awe of the creativity of the writer. While there is a lot of detail regarding a lot of things, thankfully there is not too much detail about certain things. If you have a fluid imagination be warned. On the other hand, the settings and background are beautifully rendered. I admit I would have liked to have a map but one really isn’t needed.
The characters are beautifully rendered. As usual, there are new folks we haven’t encountered in addition to those who came from prior books. The location is also brought to life. Rome in all its complicated majesty is almost a character in and of itself. Not surprising all things considered.
While I would strongly recommend this book to any Falco or Flavia reader, I do think that if you are new to the series you might be a bit lost in understanding the history of the people involved. But that is just me.
That being said, I am going to find the book that this particular work springs from and dive back in. As I recall from the last time I listened/read it, it was one of Falco & Helena’s best adventures.
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