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Last Act in Palmyra is a 1994 historical mystery crime novel by Lindsey Davis and the sixth book of the Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries series. Set in Rome, Nabatea, and Palmyra, the novel stars Marcus Didius Falco, informer and imperial agent. The title refers to the hunt undertaken by Falco for a murderer, the last act of which takes place in Palmyra, as well as plays upon Falco's temporary employment as a playwright with a travelling theatre group.

Last Act in Palmyra
First edition
Author Lindsey Davis
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Marcus Didius Falco
Genre Historical mystery crime novel
Publisher Century
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 384 pp
ISBN 0-7126-5936-6
OCLC 227274020
Preceded by Poseidon's Gold
Followed by Time to Depart


Plot summaryEdit

In Last Act in Palmyra, Falco takes on a new spying mission for Vespasian to the east of the Empire. He also plans to investigate the disappearance of a young musician, Sophrona. Falco and Helena Justina travel to Petra, where they encounter a theatre group who have just lost their playwright due to drowning. Joining them, Falco attempts to fulfill his various investigations, whilst at the same time write his new play, The Spook Who Spoke.

Characters in "Last Act in Palmyra"Edit

Main CharactersEdit

  • Anacrites - Imperial spy
  • Helena Justina - Daughter of the Senator Decimus Camillus Verus
  • Marcus Didius Falco - Informer and Imperial Agent from the Aventine.
  • Musa - Priest from Dushara
  • Sophrona - Musician, player of the water organ
  • Thalia - Snake dancer

The Theatre CompanyEdit

  • Byrria - Actress
  • Chremes - Actor-manager
  • Congrio - Billposter
  • Davos - Actor
  • Grumio - Clown
  • Philocrates - Actor
  • Phrygia - Actress, wife of Chremes
  • Tranio - Clown

The OrchestraEdit

  • Afrania - Tibia-player
  • Ione - Tambourinist
  • Plancina - Panpipe girl
  • Ribes - Lyre-player

Major themesEdit

  • Several investigations, including a spying mission for the emperor, a disappearing musician, and the murder of a traveling playwright.
  • Developing relationship of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina.
  • The history and culture of the Roman Middle East (namely Arabia Petraea and Roman Syria).

Allusions/references to other worksEdit

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current scienceEdit

Release detailsEdit


External linksEdit