December 9, 2021

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A Review of the Novel "The Ides of April’ by Lindsey Davis

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Lindsey Davis is a British writer. She was born in Birmingham in 1949 and is well known as a writer of historical detective stories. Everybody has heard of the “Ides of March”, the fateful day when Julius Ceaser was murdered in 32 BC. Lindsey Davis has probably taken a clue from this date and written the “The Ides of April” a thrilling detective crime novel set in ancient Rome. Lindsey Davis is now 64 years old and has carved a niche for herself in the field of historical detective fiction.

Lindsey and Themes of Crime in Roman Era

Lindsey Davis’s forte is writing crime fiction set in the Roman era. She has made a name for herself by writing the Falco series of crime novels which are set in the days when the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world. She wrote 20 novels with the character Falco, before creating another character Flavia Alba in the novel “The Ides of April”. The book was published in 2013 and another with the same character is planned for 2014.

The character Flavia Alba created by Davis is a fresh character. She is a woman’s widow who was born in England. She is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco. Readers will recollect that Falco is the hero of the earlier twenty novels of Davis. In a way, Davis continues the legend of Falco, though the character does not physically appear in the book. The novel is written in the first person and is narrated by Flavia Alba.

Flavia Alba is a female investigator who lives alone. The novel is set in the period when a reign of terror had been unleashed by the Roman emperor Domitian. It is based on real happenings during this period. Flavia Alba gets into action when a female client is murdered. She starts an investigation and more murders take place. The magistrate is busy with more mundane things like the annual Games of Ceres, a fox hunting festival.

Flavia Alba is also stricken by the arrow of Eros and she falls in love with Andronicus, a handsome young man. As a widow, she gives herself wholeheartedly to her lover, though she has lurking doubts about Andronicus. These love episodes with Andronicus are beautifully handled. There is a passion as Flavia gives herself to her lover. But her doubts remain in her mind even when she sleeps with Andronicus. With this love, the author creates one of the essential ingredients in a woman’s life, even if she is a professional like Flavia.


The games commence and there is excitement all around. Flavia Alba is drawn into the vortex of a storm as the killer now stalks her. The killer is one who knows Rome like the palm of his hand. He stalks the by lanes and alleys to carry out his nefarious design. There is always a danger to her life and that keeps the reader on edge.


This is an excellent book. It does not conform to the regular fare of a detective novel as the time period is set in a bygone era. The book makes interesting reading and after reading the book, the reader will look forward to reading the next book by Lindsey Davis. The present novel is of 366 pages, but the length of the novel is its strength. A sequel titled Enemies at Home is to be published in 2014.

Lindsey writes about a period that is not much popularized by modern writers. Her writing with the background of ancient Rome is novel and enticing. Her attention to historical detail needs to be complimented.

Personal Life

Lindsey Davis never married and lives in London. She is the winner of a plethora of rewards. She won the Sherlock Award for the Best Comic Detective in 2000 for Didius Falco. In 2011 she won the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime writers association. She was runner-up for the 1985 Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize.

Lindsey started her career as a civil servant but left after 13 years. She started by writing love stories for the UK women’s magazine Woman’s Realm. She took to writing novels and concentrated on historical detective fiction. Lindsey has a British born adopted daughter.

Source by Madan G Singh

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