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Desperate Undertaking: Flavia Albia #10    by Lindsey Davis order for
Desperate Undertaking
by Lindsey Davis
Order:  USA  Can
Hodder & Stoughton, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Desperate Undertaking follows A Comedy of Terrors as the tenth in Lindsey Davis's Flavia Albia series. The author started writing about ancient Rome with informer Marcus Didius Falco as lead. Now his adopted daughter has moved into the limelight instead. This episode begins in AD 89 Rome.

Flavia's husband Tiberius Manlius Faustus is an aedile, coming to the end of his term of duties. They cater to a steadily growing household, including Tiberius' lively twin nephews, Gaius and Lucius. This episode begins with a murder, the dying woman saying that the undertaker did it. Someone lured the victim to meet her death by an ampitheatre battle bull. It's one of several staged murders, re-enacting scenes from popular theatre - why?

As readers follow the investigation while learning about Greek plays - from Laureolus to Oedipus Rex and Jason - and theatre, Flavia becomes a target of the killer. Can she stop this 'grim pageant'? Of course she does and ends up confronting the killer herself. As always, Davis delivers an entertaining read set in a fascinating era.

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