The Accusers

Plot Summary

Needing to re-establish their presence in Rome, Falco and Associates become embroiled in the legal manoeuvres of Silius Italicus and Paccius Africanus, real-life uppercrust informers who thrive on exploiting the sins of the rich. Rubirius Metellus, an average senator (corrupt, nasty, hated by his relatives and possibly incestuous) has committed suicide to avoid paying his bills. It’s a neat trick if you can get away with it, but he won’t because Silius wants his huge fees and Paccius is advising most of the family, including the favoured ex-daughter-in-law, while M Didius Falco is on hand to defend old-fashioned concepts like justice for the innocent. Aulus takes an interest in agnates, Quintus gains an heir, Helena distrusts the ingénue and Falco risks his future using oratorical skills we have never imagined he owns. With poisoned pills, magic practices, women in labour, old Senate scandals and an appearance from dumb judge Marponius lined up, things are tricky even before the impiety charge – and that may be the end of everything…

This is the one where, after 15 years of writing about informers, I read a book that told me what informers really did.


‘An irresistible and rapidly-moving outing for the wittiest Roman of them all’ – the Independent

‘Full of murder, mayhem, and riotous corruption, The Accusers is a hedonistically great read’ –

The author has always wanted to do a courtroom drama – and it’s wonderful! – The Poisoned Pen Booknews

As usual, Davis’s sprightly narrative focuses on customs, history, and details of the Metellus and Falco households and takes its time unravelling the mystery’ – Kirkus reviews.

‘Scandal, blackmail, corruption, and intrigue – common ingredients of legal practice. In one particularly fine scene, Falco delivers a speech in the Basilica that relies on amusing and effective rhetorical tricks. Wry, cynical and principled, Falco makes the perfect guide to Davis’s vividly realised ancient Rome – Publishers Weekly.

You know what you’re getting and you’ve got it again – another lovely Falco yarn. – The Bookseller.

THE ACCUSERS is a riveting yet humorous mystery that takes readers through the ancient streets of Rome and into the homes of its upper class, as well as into Falco’s decidedly working class life. Some of my favorite parts of these novels are Falco’s private asides to the reader, as well as the brilliant dialogue. While wit plays a large part in this novel, it’s the well-thought out mystery and the portrayal of Falco’s everyday life that is well done. Readers can easily picture Rome at its heyday.

Once again, Lindsey Davis and Marcus Didius Falco have delighted me with his quirky take on life and his down-to-earth commitment to his family and his beloved city. Don’t miss THE ACCUSERS; it’s entertaining, well written, and wickedly funny. – Jani Brooks, Romance Reviews Today

‘It all came back to me readily. The bugs. The creaking joists, threatening to cave in at any heavy footfall. The dirt. The noise. The theft and battery; the disease and debt. The threats from fellow lodgers, the smoke from wonky cooking benches, the screaming children. The smell of urine on the stairs–not all of it from the vats in Lenia’s laundry. Lenia bawling drunkenly. The filthy, filthy-hearted landlord…’
Chosen by readers, Rosina and George Harter

Hear Lindsey read a short extract from The Accusers