Falco, Helena, and little Julia have barely returned to Rome, when Helens brother, Aulus, falls over a murdered body and a young girl tries to hire Falco, because someone in her family is trying to kill her. Falco sends her home thinking she is overly imaginative and she promptly disappears.
Since the murder involves the exclusive religious cult of the Arval brothers and the little girl is up to be the next Vestal Virgin, investigating is especially tricky, and now that Falco is Procurator of the Sacred Poultry, he thinks he has to act like a respectable citizen. He gets over that.
This is an excellent book in an excellent series. I have come to think of Falco, Helena, and all the others as old friends and they are always good company.
Poor Falco... He finally has lots of money, a government sinecure and a higher social status. So what happens? His next client, a six-year-old girl disappears and the people who should be helping him the most are all lying to him or just not talking at all. Plus, the Emperor is anxious that Falco solve the case quickly, if not yesterday.
The only ones who try to help him are an old friend who now dislikes him, a brother-in-law who thinks he is an idiot and a man who once tried to have him killed.
Fortunately, Falco can count on the support of his loving wife Helena and his dog Nux.