Pandora’s Boy

PLOT SUMMARY: Albia novel 6

Offered a job by her new husband’s ex-wife, Albia hides in a store cupboard. But the loathsome Laia has put forward an intriguing mystery, with a young girl dead amidst suggestions of magic; the family is headed up by an Arbiter, not that he seems any use at mediation as he heads for a court case against his own in-laws… Albia’s own father supplies helpful local contacts – suggestions both he and the contacts may regret.

Against the background of Domitian’s return to Rome and incipient gang warfare, our intrepid sleuth explores high-end pampering and celebrity dining in upwardly mobile society. Thanks to a reckless challenge offered to your author, there is a curious subplot involving an Egyptian fertility god and his attributes.

The dead girl’s young friends are an amoral, inane group, squandering their feckless parents’ money; the deceased’s tormented love life leads to dangerous encounters with the occult; Albia must deploy all her own skills, including a mystic reputation that she normally tries to shake off… The Quirinal Hill is presided over by a goddess of health and welfare, but that won’t help. It will take more than sweet-smelling unguents to clean up what is going on here.

Editor: “this is one of the wittiest, tightest, occasionally surreal and fun books from you ever! Loved it.”


Relax, die-hard fans of Falco and his spirited British daughter Albia. Rome continues to be as splendid and as sordid as it ever was, the crimes committed are as complex and intriguing, and our heroine just as determined and cynical, with that light dusting of humour which made tales of her father’s exploits so engaging. Newcomers to the series need not fear, by the way: each book contains just enough background detail to make you feel immediately at home. the bookbag

Brilliant detective novel from the Flavia Albia series that exposes the seedy underbelly of beautiful Rome. Loveit! Magazine

Pandora’s Boy sees Lindsey Davis on top form and her prose has the same sparkle and fizz as when she first introduced us to Falco (now going straight as an auctioneer) way back in 1989, which is a career longer than that of most Roman Emperors. Mike Ripley in SHOTS

Lindsey Davis has seen off all her competitors, notably US author Steven Saylor, to become the unassailable market leader in the “crime in Ancient Rome” genre. Her books featuring the Roman sleuth Falco marry persuasive historical elements and compelling storytelling. Davis’s squalid, vibrant Rome is as pleasurable as ever. Barry Forshaw, the Guardian

Reader favourite(s) Libraries have other temptations. I didn’t want anyone sneaking off to read a book.

What does the modern woman wear to a séance?

Chosen by Merlyn Marten