The Accusers

Back from Britain and uneasily respectable, Marcus Didius Falco has to rebuild his business and clientele in Rome. A small job collecting a document draws him into Senator Metellus’s trial for corruption. Two weeks after the Senator is convicted, he dies.

Suicide is the reported cause, but hardly anyone believes it. Killing himself is a too-convenient way—the only way—to avoid paying the huge judgment which would wipe out the family fortune. Metellus’s wife and three grown children each held resentments against him, and surely don’t want the Metellus money to fall into his accusers’ hands.

But would these motives be strong enough for one of them to commit murder? That’s the puzzle Falco has to solve as first one, then another Metellus family member is put on trial. In court, he is up against some of his wiliest opponents yet—two ex-consuls whose greed is exceeded only by their skill at double-dealing. No longer a scruffy loner in his private informer trade, Falco heads a team including his two feckless brothers-in-law, his sensible wife Helena, and occasional bit players whose specialty draws them onto the team.

The Accusers turns into a unique legal thriller, Roman style. Little-known details of Roman law impact the murder trials. Even Roman history buffs will learn something new—how senatorial wills were handled; how well-born women dodged the restrictions on their financial independence, and other arcane facts. Falco’s newest case will delight author Lindsey Davis’s many fans, who can once again watch him plying the informer’s trade on the huge chaotic stage of first century Imperial Rome.