Marcus Didius Falco is, as usual, short of money and looking for ways to raise some for himself and his lady love Helena Justina. Hes now drawing a salary as a Procurator of the Sacred Poultrykeeping an eye on the citys sacred geese. Still, nothings easy for Falco. He quarrels with one of Junos priests over the geese. Next, he matches wits with Gaia, a six-year-old who is to be named Vestal Virgin. Gaia claims her family would like to kill her and wants help from Falco. Falco doesnt take her seriously, especially since shes related to the priest he quarreled with.

When Helenas brother literally trips over a corpse, Falco finds himself conducting the investigation. Next, Gaia goes missing and the disappearance is connected to the dead man. Soon, the intrepid Falco finds himself in the most dangerous situation of his career.

Vestal Virgins and the Priestly Class make for interesting reading in ONE VIRGIN TOO MANY. As usual, reading about the wryly cynical Falco is a delightful experience and his newest exploit finds him in top form. (Nov., 368 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg