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Pandora's Boy: A Flavia Albia Novel    by Lindsey Davis order for
Pandora's Boy
by Lindsey Davis
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I'm a long-time fan of Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco mysteries, set in ancient Rome, I had not read any of the new series featuring his adopted daughter Flavia Albia until I found this sixth episode, Pandora's Boy. It showed me that informer Flavia Albia is very much a chip off the old block.

Surprisingly this investigation comes via Flavia's new husband Tiberius Manlius's ex-wife Laia, who doesn't like her replacement very much. On the Quirinal Hill, a young girl, Clodia Volumnia, has died and rumor says that a love potion killed her. Could it have been supplied by Pandora, who trades in herbal beauty products, but also belongs to a notorious family of criminal gangsters?

After refusing the case, Flavia mislays her husband and worries - after all, he was hit by a lightning bolt on their wedding day. Tiberius is an aedile, a senior magistrate, but hasn't taken his formal outfit - where could he be? She suspects he might be working incognito, which he often does. Failing to find him, she takes Laia's case.

Flavia soon discovers that sweet young Clodia was not nearly as innocent as she's claimed to be, and that she spent all her free time with a fashionable crowd of her older brother's friends, and had been out with them the night she died. She does find Tiberius and they make progress together, along with Iucundus, a delightful friend of Marcus Didius Falco's. Then Iucundus is murdered, taking the investigation to a whole new level.

As always, Lindsey Davis entertains, while giving the reader an entirely fresh - and humorous (note the role of fertility god Min) - perspective of ancient Rome. This time, through no fault of her own, Flavia acquires a mongrel dog, which is sure to continue to play a role in future episodes.

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