Lindsey Davis grew up in Birmingham, England, and attended Oxford University, where she read English as a member of Lady Margaret Hall College. She was employed for several years in the Property Services Agency, where her responsibilities included arranging contracts related to ancient monuments and London Museums and serving as a committee secretary and as assistant to a deputy secretary.
After resigning her position in the civil service, Davis survived for several years on a modest government stipend as she struggled to become a successful writer. Her romantic novel about the British Civil War was runner-up for the 1985 Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize. Davis became intrigued by the story of the Roman emperor Vespasian and his mistress Antonia Caenis and produced the novel The Course of Honour (not published until 1997). As she gathered information about first century Rome for this project, Davis conceived of the fictional Didius Falco, whose first adventure appeared as The Silver Pigs (1989). For this novel Davis received the 1989 Author’s Club Best First Novel Award.
In interviews Davis has attributed her interest in first century Rome to the Roman occupation of her native Britain, where much of the action in The Silver Pigs takes place. Davis brings her hero back to Britain twice, in A Body in the Bath House (2001), which features references to the famous archaeological site known as the Fishbourne Roman Palace, and in The Jupiter Myth (2002), set in Londinium (London). Davis’s career as a British civil servant also helps explain her fascination with the imperial civil service with which Falco deals throughout the series.
After producing Falco novels annually for seventeen years, Davis slowed her pace following the completion of See Delphi and Die (2005). The recipient of a corneal transplant, Davis became a staunch advocate of organ-donor programs.