Marcus Didius Falcoinformant, dogsbody, and sometime sleuthhas another talent as well. Hes a poet, albeit unpublished. However, that may change as his poems have caught the attention of Aurelius Chrysippus, a banker, publisher, and patron of the arts. It sounds like a good deal until Falco realizes that he is expected to pay to be published, something he couldnt afford even if he wanted to.

It all becomes a moot point when Chrysippus is discovered dead in his library. Everyone, including Falco, is suspected of the crime for Chrysippus had no shortage of enemies. Falco clears his good name, barely, and is urged on to solve the crime.

Hes soon sorting through a morass of corruption and greed. When another corpse turns up, Falco has to find the killer before he becomes body number three.

High spirits and cynical humor as well as a dandy story make ODE TO A BANKER a gem of a read. Several humorous subplots with quirky characters enliven the sparkling storyline. (Jul., 384 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg