Marcus Didius Falco

Created by Lindsey Davis

Tough. Hard-boiled. A loner and proud of it.

MARCUS DIDIUS FALCO is your basic P.I. in a typical big, rotting city. Except this city is Rome, circa 70AD, during the reign of Vespasian. The Cleveland Plain Dealer calls him "Sam Spade in a ratty toga," but Publisher's Weekly may be more on target, calling him "the Travis McGee of early Rome," given that under that ratty toga and coarse cynicism beats the heart of a poetry-writing romantic. A slacker at heart, he often finds himself working rather reluctantly as a special investigator for His Imperial Majesty Vespasian, Emperor of Rome, despite the fact Falco has some rather dangerous leftist, Republican leanings.

In his first recorded case, The Silver Pigs (1989), he hooks up with Helena Justina, daughter of a Senator, and they promptly become lovers and sparring partners, a rather unique spin on the whole Nick and Nora thing.

Excellent historical fiction, an appealing hero, and more trivia than you'd ever want to know about Imperial Rome. Like, don't ask how they get those togas so white. More adventure than mystery, perhaps, and possibly a little more romance than some readers might enjoy, but the series nevertheless features a private eye by almost any definition of the word, and an intriguing and compelling entrance into another world. No wonder, then, that it's lasted for over twenty novels.

In fact the series proved so popular that Davis spun it off into a new series, this one featuring Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina, who takes up her father's profession.

Lindsey Davis was born in England, and studied at Oxford. She currently lives in London, and writes full time. Past Chair of the Crimewriters' Association and a Vice President of the Classical Association, she was Chair of the UK Society of Authors (2012), and has won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Dagger in the Library, and a Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective. She has also been awarded the Premio Colosseo for enhancing the image of Rome, and the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement as a mystery writer.

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE

NOVELS

RADIO

  • THE SILVER PIGS
    (2004, BBC 4)
    Four 30-minute episodes
    Based on the novel by Linsey Davis
    Dramatised by Mary Cutler
    Directed by Peter Leslie Wild
    Starring Anton Lesser as FALCO
    and Fritha Goodey as Helena
    With Bertie Carvel as Crispus
    Also starring Francis Jeater, Ben Crowe, Robert Lister, Richard Derrington, Alex Jones, Michael Tudor-Barnes

  • SHADOWS IN BRONZE
    (2005, BBC 4)
    Six 30-minute episodes
    Based on the novel by Linsey Davis
    Dramatised by Mary Cutler
    Directed by Peter Leslie Wild
    Starring Anton Lesser as FALCO
    and Anna Madeley as Helena
    Also starring Ben Crow, Francis Jeator, Trevor Peacock, Michael Tudor Barnes, Jonathan Keeble

  • VENUS IN COPPER
    (2006, BBC 4)
    Six 30-minute episodes
    Based on the novel by Linsey Davis
    Dramatised by Mary Cutler
    Directed by Peter Leslie Wild
    Starring Anton Lesser as FALCO
    and Anna Madeley as Helena
    Also starring Ben Crow, Francis Jeator, Trevor Peacock, Michael Tudor Barnes, Jonathan Keeble

  • THE IRON HAND OF MARS
    (2007, BBC 4)
    Six 30-minute episodes
    Based on the novel by Linsey Davis
    Dramatised by Mary Cutler
    Directed by Peter Leslie Wild
    Starring Anton Lesser as FALCO
    and Anna Madeley as Helena
    Also starring Oliver J. Hembrough, Gary Lewis, Dan Crow, Straker, David Holt, Sophie Samuda, Michael Elwyn

  • POSEIDON'S GOLD
    (2009, BBC 4)
    Ten 15-minute episodes
    Based on the novel by Linsey Davis
    Dramatised by Mary Cutler
    Directed by Peter Leslie Wild
    Starring Anton Lesser as FALCO
    and Anna Madeley as Helena
    Also starring Ben Crow, Francis Jeator, Trevor Peacock, Michael Tudor Barnes, Jonathan Keeble

ALSO OF INTEREST

Just like it says, the official companion to the long-running series, including a slew of stuff about the author and her greatest fictional creation that will knock your socks off -- or at least twist your toga a little.

RELATED LINKS

Historical Eyes.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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