If Marcus Didius Falco comes off like a hard-boiled detective walking the mean streets of First Century Rome (AD), according to author Lindsey Davis, who created him, that's what he is.
"It was a sort of spoof novel," she said, about her crime series that began with Silver Pigs (1989).
Davis will be speaking about her work writing historical fiction at the Getty Villa tonight. She is best known for her award-winning series featuring Falco, who is an informer for the Roman Emporer Vespasian, who reigned 69-79 AD.
The British author had tried selling a novel written in 17th Century England, but couldn't get that one published. So she tried Ancient Rome partly because there was no one else writing in that era at the time.
"I deliberately chose something that no one else was doing," she said.
Her latest novel, which will be available for purchase and signing at the museum, is Master and God, which is a straightforward historical novel set somewhat later than her Falco series, under the rule of Emporer Domitian, who succeeded Vespasian.
She said that she's excited about her talk at the Villa.
"I've always wanted to go there," said Davis, who lives in London.
She's also spending somewhat longer in Los Angeles than she has in the past, making what she called "fly-in visits," where she flies in, does an appearance or signing, then flies out the next day.
"I'm having five nights here," she said.
And while she was at the early part of her stay, she did mention the part of Los Angeles that most of her fellow Londoners also appreciate: the weather.
"It's lovely weather," she said, remarking on the sunny skies and that it's still not too warm. "It's absolutely delightful."
Davis' talk begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Getty Villa Auditorium, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. The talk is free, but tickets are required, and parking is $10. Or visitors can call (310) 440-7300.