This is my first introduction to Flavia Albia and Lindsay Davis; it appears as if this book is a second in a series of books featuring the character. Not to worry though this book can stand on its own.
As the story begins we are dealing with the death of a newlywed couple. What initially appears as a robbery turned bad turns into a murder investigation where the slaves in the household are all suspects and any false move will have them all sent to the lions. The novel then directly plunges into tracking down the person/people who committed the odious crime.
If you are looking for an action packed, fast paced mystery, then this book is not for you. This is a character driven story that spends a majority of its time detailing life in early Rome and getting the nuts and bolts of the story ironed out than moving from one plot point to the next. Flavia, is quick witted, determined, and perceptive. I really enjoyed her interactions with everyone on the canvas.
I enjoyed the structure of the story as it allows you to follow along with Flavia as she figures out what happened. She has to rely on her listening skills and deductive reasoning skills in order to solve the crime, which refreshing because the reader is forced to engage with the story and not just turn on autopilot as the plot unravels. The last few chapters is where it really starts to get interesting. I am not sure if it is because I watch way too many episodes of shows played on the ID channel, but I found the cause behind the murders to be a tad lame.
Overall, Enemies At Home is a diverting book with excellent characterization and rich in atmosphere. Anyone who likes mysteries and Ancient Rome should pick this one up.
"There are rules for private informers accepting a new case. Never take on clients who cannot pay you. Never do favours for friends. Don't work with relatives. If, like me, you are a woman, keep clear of men you find attractive.
"Will I never learn?"
In Ancient Rome, the number of slaves was far greater than that of free citizens. As a result, often the people Romans feared most were the "enemies at home," the slaves under their own roofs. Because of this, Roman law decreed that if the head of a household was murdered at home, and the culprit wasn't quickly discovered, his slaves--all of them, guilty or not--were presumed responsible and were put to death. Without exception.
When a couple is found dead in their own bedroom and their house burglarized, some of their household slaves know what is about to happen to them. They flee to the Temple of Ceres, which by tradition is respected as a haven for refugees. This is where Flavia Albia comes in. The authorities, under pressure from all sides, need a solution. Albia, a private informer just like her father, Marcus Didius Falco, is asked to solve the murders, in this mystery from Lindsey Davis.