Title: Scandal Takes a Holiday
Author: Lindsey Davis
Published: 2004, Mysterious Press
This is the 16th in the Marcus Didius Falco mystery series. In this installment, our hero Falco, a private eye in ancient Rome, is hired to track down Diocles, a newspaper reporter of Rome's Daily Gazette, who has gone missing while on vacation in Ostia. So Falco bundles up the family and heads out to the seaside town. He discovers that Diocles may have uncovered a kidnapping scheme run by pirates. And maybe he's run afoul of them.
I've read all 16 Falco books and the last couple have been a little disappointing. Has Falco grown stale?! I always love the setting of these--it feeds my fascination with ancient Rome, and I always learn something interesting (this time it's newspapers and pirates). And Falco is a great character. He's cynical and tough, but honorable and has an endearing soft spot for his wife. And it's been fun to see him turn from an incorrigible bachelor into a contented family man.
But I found myself struggling a little through this one. I felt like it was the same old, same old. I imagine that for an author it's really hard to keep the life in a series this long.
I've read on Lindsey Davis's website that this is the last book she's doing with Mysterious Press. Apparently her editor there died and the imprint decided to drop her. She's moving to St. Martin's for her next books and they are also going to reissue the early Falco books, which is really great because they've gone out of print and, in my opinion, they're the best ones.
I think the next time I need a Falco fix, I'm going to reread Silver Pigs (the first Falco mystery).