I first read this book when it came out and was an alternate selection for my book club. The description intrigued me. I read it and loved it, but only came back to read the rest of the series several years later. I have devoured them every time a new one comes out. Lidsey Davis is a gifted writer, blending suspense, mystery, comedy and light romance into so many intriguing tales. This is the first, and I recommend reading this one before going on to the rest. The stories build on one another, and are best read in order.
One of the things I love about this series is that you get a street-level look at what daily life was for people living in Rome in the first century. Lindsey Davis researches her plots carefully, and it is fascinating to read the small details about how people bought their food, got water, lived in apartments, and generally ran a business. I love the books as much for the historical detail as for the wonderful stories.
Gotta grab this one if you like historical novels!