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Sunday, November 29, 2009


 Davis, Lindsey.  Alexandria:  A Marcus Didius Falco Novel.

While not one of my favorite Falco mysteries, the information about Alexandria and the great Library was fascinating.

Falco and Helena, along with their children and Falco's brother-in-law, are visiting Falco's uncle in Alexandria, Egypt.  On their first evening, their hosts have a dinner party and Theon, the Head Librarian is an honored guest.  The next morning, Theon is found dead in a locked room at the Library.

While I found the mystery itself adequate, not enthralling, the historical tidbits were fascinating.  The dissection of Theon by the Alexandria Zoo Keeper is particulary interesting because of the historical data included concerning Eristratus of Chios and Herophilus of Chalcedon who were physicians and anatomists at the Alexandria medical school.  They are both considered founders of modern medicine and performed dissections (and possibly vivisections!) that provided significant information about the workings of the human body.

Hero/Heron was a Greek mathematician and engineer who invented the first steam engine, a windwheel to harness wind power, devices for the theater, a force pump widely used by Romans, and more. 

The relationship between Falco and Helena Justinua remains one of the charming aspects of this series, but the plot was sometimes a bit tedious.

The following links show the importance of Alexandria and its scholars:

Erasistratus of Chios
Herophilus of Chalcedon
Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria

Fiction. Mystery/Historical Fiction. 2009.  338 pages.


  1. I keep getting drawn to books I wouldn't normally read just because of the library of Alexandria. I wish they weren't always mysteries, but I want to read this now.

  2. I was curious about this series and tried to read the first one - The Silver Pigs - but couldn't quite get into it and didn't finish. How does the first book measure up to the rest of the series?

  3. I think the historical bits would be enough to pull me in, even if the plot isn't all it could be. Thanks for the review, Jenclair. :-)

  4. I've had trouble getting into these mysteries for some reason.

  5. I don't know much about Alexandria's great library. I should look more into that.