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Rome, the very end of December. The Field of Mars is packed with monuments, none more beautiful than Domitian’s new Odeon and Stadium. But the area has been overtaken by ugly events: elaborately staged murders. Someone bears a spectacular grudge against the theatrical community, and intends to get revenge in the most spectacular way possible. The killer’s method is to re-enact bloody scenes from the gruesome side of popular theatre, where characters in plays really die on stage.
A figure from the past wants Flavia Albia’s father to investigate, but Falco is out of Rome for the holidays. Albia seizes the commission. And begins to regret doing so almost immediately. ‘The undertaker did it!’ the first victim croaks before expiring. This seems to make no sense, because surely people are already dead when they go to their funeral?
Though there is a serial killer at large, the authorities would prefer a cover-up but Albia is driven to discover what is going on. How much blood must be shed before the mania ends? And could her own family be on the list for a frightful stage death?
Praise for Lindsey Davis and the Flavia Albia series ‘It positively crackles with knowledge of the city and its people, mixed with social comment, ingenious and bloody plots and sharp observational skills leavened by more than a smattering of genuine and sometimes earthy humour’ Crime Review ‘Lighthearted, witty and effortlessly clever, just like its wonderful heroine, this is a window into ancient Rome, and a tonic and a joy to read’ The Observer ‘For a totally exhilarating romp through Ancient Rome, Lindsey Davis’ latest Flavia Alba novel won’t be beaten and offers an immersive experience of a vibrant world full of real, recognisable characters’ Shotsmag ‘In this witty novel by the mistress of Roman crime, the reader is transported behind the scenes of a Triumph into a fascinating world of actors, costumiers and animal trainers, all united in their hatred of the murdered man’ Sunday Express Magazine
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