Life is hectic for Marcus Didius Falco, ancient Rome's Philip Marlowe. While her children run wild, his sister Maia is flirting with the spy Anacrites and avoiding the amorous advances of Petronius. Then there's his bathhouse—a horrible stench is coming from it and the workmen have disappeared. It turns out there's a decayed corpse in the bathhouse, and some think Falco's father is responsible.

There's also trouble with a palace being built in Britain and the emperor wants Falco to investigate. At first, he's unwilling—everyone knows how bad the British weather is—but when things heat up with Maia and Anacrites, Falco takes the entire family to Britain, where he runs into another murder and the missing workmen!

Lindsey Davis presents us with another "ancient" screwball comedy in A BODY IN THE BATHHOUSE. The action is fast and furious, and readers will divide their time between being mystified and laughing out loud. (Sep., 304 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg