In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswald Stanmore. Aware that his son has no interest in the cloth trade that made his fortune and reputation, Oswald has left the business to his widow, but a spate of burglaries in the town distracts Matthew from supporting Edith in her grief and attempting to keep the peace between her and her wayward son.
As well as the theft of irreplaceable items from Michaelhouse, which threatens its very survival, a new foundation, Winwick Hall, is causing consternation amongst Matthew's colleagues. The founder is an impatient man determined that his name will grace the University's most prestigious college. He has used his wealth to rush the construction of the hall, and his appointed Fellows have infiltrated the charitable Guild founded by Stanmore, in order to gain the support of Cambridge's most influential citizens on Winwick's behalf.
A perfect storm between the older establishments and the brash newcomers is brewing when the murder of a leading member of the Guild is soon followed by the death of one of Winwick's senior Fellows. Assisting Brother Michael in investigating these fatalities leads Matthew into a web of suspicion, where conspiracy theories are rife but facts are scarce and where the pressure from the problems of his college and his family sets him on a path that could endanger his own future ...
©2014 Susanna Gregory (P)2014 Soundings
Susanna Gregory is the only mystery writer who has had me simultaneously trying to suss out the bad guy while trying not to pee my pants with laughter. I don't think anyone but David Thorpe could narrate Gregory's books in quite the way he does, but his deep, slightly haughty resonance lends itself as much to intrigue as to hilarity, and at this point I only have to see the name of the author and narrator together on an audio file to lay down the cash, only there are precious few from which to choose. Pity. Get on that, Audible!! Anyway, if you like mysteries and anything medieval, get this book. Get them all, there isn't a bad one in the Matthew Bartholomew series. I particularly like how Gregory offhandedly describes what a item of clothing or food item is in the context of the time without being all education-y about it - she just says "this is what they did/ate/wore back then," gives a brief description that doesn't get in the way of the story, and gets on with it. After the book is over is when the reader (listener) learns the depth of research Gregory actually does in the weaving of her tales - many of the characters and situations in her books were real with the documentation to prove it, but have been fictionalized for maximum intrigue and entertainment. And intriguing they are. While her stories are set in medieval days, we see that human nature itself has changed very, very little since then: we are still ridiculous, hilarious, utterly foolish, and damn lucky. Many of the foibles and shenanigans that are described in this book (with hilarious detail) could just as easily have happened last week as six hundred years ago. Get this book - you'll love it. There is mystery, shenanigans, and plenty of finger-poking fun. You won't regret it.
"Great story but terrible delivery"
No,unfortunately you have chosen the wrong person to read the book which is a great shame as I love Susanna Gregory's books and the story is good.
Susanna Gregory writes with the historical accuracy of CJ Sansom and Michael Jecks but there is more humour in her books.
They aren't really those sort of books.
Please find another reader - the person who read the Piccadilly Plot and Death in St. James Park is so much better.
The narration was very poor by David Thorpe, Andrew Wingate is far better narrating Susanna Gregory/Bartholomew books.
I was very disappointed and will be returning this book to Audible.
"I was warned!"
I suppose it is inevitable, but I find these stories getting a bit same old..
I read the other reviews about the narrator but got the book anyway. Big mistake. I could not bear some of the voices, they were so irritating. This narrator is not a patch on the narrator of the previous books whose voice was very soothing but you knew which character was speaking. This narrator's voice is extremely jarring. I would not listen to another book read by him.
I probably would.
"Very lazy delivery"
The content was fine, the delivery was lazy and clearly lacking in any kind of preparatory work
The narrator taking the time to do some prep ie understanding the characters and using an appropriate voice
The book was fine, the narration was appalling and if the same narrator is used for further books in the series, I will not be buying them!!
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