The Marcus Didus Falco series really should be an HBO TV series. It's a highly engrossing mystery series, with incredibly interesting characters, and Lindsey Davis makes the Roman Empire really come alive. This book, the second in the series, is really no exception. Davis makes Pompeii and Herculanium (where the majority of the action takes place) feel like living, breathing cities.
If I had one complaint about the book, it has to do with the discovery that Pertinax is still alive. There was no evidence in advance to show he was still alive before then. To be fair, it's a surprise to Falco as well, but it could have been handled a little better, I think.
Falco, as a character, is probably one of the better realized examples of a detective who is too pig-headed for their own good. While some of the classic hard-boiled PIs of the 30s have this trait, we rarely see enough of their lives and friends outside of the job to see how this changes that side of things. Falco has family and friends with families, so we get a better look at how his stubbornness effects his life outside of the job.
As a fan of historical mysteries (like the Cadfael novels by [a:Ellis Peters|4046|Ellis Peters|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1242605103p2/4046.jpg], I really enjoyed this book, and I'm probably going to read the rest of the books in the series, at least until it gets bad.