An unpaid bar bill leads Flavia Albia to her most bitter and complex case yet.
Decades earlier Appius Tranquillus Surus wrote his will: it freed his slaves and bequeathed his businesses to them. He left an orchard to the Prisci, a family he was friendly with, on the condition that his freedmen could still take its harvest.
The convoluted arrangement has led to a feud between the two families, each of which has its own internal strife. Endless claims and counterclaims lead to violence and even death. Lawyers have given up in exasperation as the case limps on. The original will has disappeared, along with a falsified codicil – and might there be another one?
But is there a solution? Two youngsters from each side of the divide, Gaius Venuleius and Cosca Sabatina, have fallen in love, which could unite the feuding families. There is only one problem: were Sabatina’s grandmother and father really liberated in the Surus will? If not, the stigma of slavery will stop the marriage and the dispute will rage on forever.
Reconciliation seems impossible, but Albia will try. Her investigation must cut through decades of secrets, arguments, lies and violence to reach a startling truth.
Praise for Lindsey Davis and the Flavia Albia series
‘It positively crackles with knowledge of the city and its people, mixed with social comment, ingenious and bloody plots and sharp observational skills leavened by more than a smattering of genuine and sometimes earthy humour’ Crime Review
‘Fiendishly twisted mystery’ Mail on Sunday
‘Great fun, shot through with sharp observations’ SHOTS
‘In this witty novel by the mistress of Roman crime, the reader is transported behind the scenes of a Triumph into a fascinating world of actors, costumiers and animal trainers, all united in their hatred of the murdered man’ Sunday Express Magazine
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