Lindsey Davis is the internationally best selling author who "makes Rome live" (Washington Post Book World). Funny, astute, and hard-boiled, her series detective, Marcus Didius Falco, now ventures into a new arena, the publishing world of AD 74, to prove that ars longa, vita brevis - and murder is timeless. Can a tough detective possess the soul of a poet? After a public reading brings him rousing applause, Falco receives an offer to have his work published. But his ego takes a beating when the banker Chrysippus demands payment for putting the verse on papyrus. Hell hath no fury like an author scorned, and when Chrysippus turns up murdered - in the library, no less - it's poetic justice. Appointed the official investigator, Falco's soon up to his stylus in outraged writers and shifty bankers. Now it's time to employ his real talents: deducing the killer from an assembly of suspects. This classic whodunit is Lindsey Davis' most satisfying mystery yet.