Reviews for Fatal legacy

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The plot thickens with every baffling revelation in a singularly challenging investigation in Rome in 90 C.E. Flavia Albia finds herself in an awkward spot when her aunt Junia presses her to track down the despicable duo who’ve just dined and dashed after enjoying a meal at the Stargazer, the "greasy spoon" (Flavia's words) Junia manages. Such a paltry infraction seems more trouble than it’s worth, but Flavia feels compassion for Junia’s deaf son, Junillus, who failed to catch the miscreants as he worked at the Stargazer. Additional empathy comes from the fact that, like Junillus, Flavia was an abandoned child rescued when she was adopted, in her case by the renowned sleuth Marcus Didius Falco. Family dynamics become an important theme in Flavia’s 11th case, whose tangled plot resembles a scavenger hunt, each new discovery leading to another minor puzzle to untangle. The first twist comes when, after considerable legwork, Flavia solves the original puzzle but accepts another, trickier one from the aunt of the miscreant Tranquilla Euhodia. Euhodia’s niece Sabatina plans to marry, but her father, Postuminus, is unable to document that he is a free man and not a slave. En route to a surprising resolution, Flavia uncovers family secrets, scandals, and lies that trigger ironic reflections on her own family and eventually a cameo appearance by Falco. Capital crimes lie at the roots of the mystery, but its sweet spots are the complexities of Roman society and the tragic crosscurrents of family dynamics. Dark mystery encased in a rich portrait of ancient Rome. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
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Davis’s 11th historical mystery featuring first-century Roman private informer Albia (after 2022’s Desperate Undertaking) is more low-key than past entries, but no less gripping. Flavia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco (hero of a prior Davis series), is asked by her Aunt Junia, who manages a grubby feeding post, to track down two customers who stiffed her. With only vague descriptions to go on, Flavia flexes her investigative skills to track down the deadbeats, only to land a more challenging assignment from one of their aunts after she confronts them. Tranquilla Euhodia’s niece is about to be married, but her future in-laws have raised questions about whether Euhodia’s brother is a free citizen, as he claims to be, or a slave. Flavia agrees to find proof that the boy is free, digging into an old murder in the process—and before long, she has a new murder to investigate. Unable to trust her employers or old confidants, Albia sets out to prevent more bodies from piling up. As always, Davis skillfully blends humor and historical detail. This classical series still feels fresh. (July)