Matthew Bartholomew doesn't want to travel to Peterborough in the summer of 1358, but his friendship with the lovely Julitta Holm has caused a scandal in Cambridge, so he has no choice. He is one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, charged to discover what happened to Peterborough's abbot, who went for a ride one day and has not been seen since. When the Commissioners arrive, they find the town in turmoil.
A feisty rabble-rouser is encouraging the poor to rise up against their overlords, the abbey is at war with a powerful goldsmith and his army of mercenaries, and there are bitter rivalries between competing shrines. One shrine is dedicated to Lawrence de Oxforde, a vicious felon who was executed for his crimes, but who has been venerated after miracles started occurring at his grave. However, it is not long before murder rears its head, and its first victim is Joan, the woman in charge of Oxforde's tomb...
©2013 Susannah Gregory (P)2013 Hachette Audio
Susanna Gregory is one of my favorite authorities. I love the Matthew Bartholomew series and have read all previous 18 books in the series. My favorite character is Brother Michael whom I find a truly funny character.
That is what I like about this series -- it is filled with humor and humorous characters -- Probably Mat is the least humorous of all - he is always being put upon and dragged into situation by Brother Michael or the head Langele. Despite the wit, the situations are very true to the time and provide an illuminating picture of life in Medieval England in the 14th century. There are fascinating details about medical treatment of the time,
This is not a book which deals with politics at the national level. Everything is strictly local - local politics, the quarrels between town and gown, the fights, and the local religious activities and the fakery of relics. It is all there in humorous detail, revealed by the situation in town and gown.
This particular volume deals with our principal character going to Peterborough to investigate the disappearance of the local abbot. They get involved in ecclesiastical politics to replace the abbot, as well as trying to ascertain if this abbot merely vanished or was murdered. Of course lots of other murders occur along the way as it seems everyone whether in the Cathedral or the town seems to want to prevent anyone from finding out what really happened to the abbot.
The books ends as always with our friends captured by evildoers and endanger of being killed and how they finally escape to bring a resolution to the lost abbot.
Many of the characters in Gregory’s book are based on real characters of the time. She has done meticulous research into the early history of Cambridge and many episodes in early volumes are based on real events.
Andrew Wincott does an outstanding job as narrator and easily captures the nuances of each character in his narration. His Brother Michael is especially good.
This is a great book for anyone who likes Medieval Mysteries and is made better for the fact that it is based on solid historical research and fact.
I hope that Audible will be publishing some of the earlier books in the series.
Never got interested in the story of the characters. I love Ellis Peter's Cadfael books, but this one was surprisingly uninteresting.
This was my first encounter with a Susanna Gregory novel and to be honest it took time for me to get into it. Initially I found it hard to stay focused and found my mind wandering to other thoughts. I believe this was my response to a somewhat tedious narration. Eventually I decided to start over and when I did my appreciation of the characters, their idiosyncrasies and relationships grew. At some point in time my appreciation for the narration and how well it fit with the characters had also performed a complete 180 degree turn. Gregory does a good job of intertwining medieval superstitions and attitudes into a creditable murder mystery. Overall the book became one of those gems you find hard to put down—then you reach for the next in the series as fast as you can.
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