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Publisher's Summary

In 1358, over a century after its foundation in Cambridge, the college of Michael House is facing a serious shortfall of funds and competition from upstarts rivals such as Zachary Hostel. Their problems are made no easier by the hostility of the town's inhabitants, who favour the university moving away to the Fens.

This simmering tension threatens to break into violence when a well-known tradesman is found dead in one of the colleges. Matthew Bartholomew knows he was poisoned but cannot identify the actual substance, never mind the killer. He also worries that other illnesses and deaths may have been caused by the effluent from his sister's dye works.

Torn between loyalties to his kin and to his college, he fears the truth may destroy both his personal and professional lives, but he knows he must use his skills as a physician to discover the truth before many more lose their lives entirely.

©2015 Susanna Gregory (P)2015 Isis Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Susanna Gregory writes with fluency and energy, avoids archaic vocabulary, despite her 14th-century setting and, having had a career as an academic, bases the stories in this enjoyable series on careful research." (Literary Review)

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Average Customer Ratings

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Never Stopped Laughing - My Favorite Series

This is another great book in the Matthew Bartholomew series about a Doctor in 17th Century Cambridge. Matthew, along with the Senior Proctor, Brother Michael must find oust what is causing the "debilitas" killing and sickening so many residents of Cambridge. In addition he must prevent his sister, Edith, from being attacked by townspeople over her factory for making dyes which are causing a ghastly smell, and also why town and gown are at each other's throat and on the verge of massive riot.

The duo of Mat and Brother Michael find themselves in one scrape after another. In addition the University, Michaelhouse, where they teach is on the verge of bankruptcy and needs to be rescued by finding a rich benefactor. Who is the sinister person causing all the trouble in the town by spreading lies and rumors? This is the main mystery to be solved, but there are many side mysteries along the way.

There are so many hilarious characters in the book that each chapter is a real treat. I have been reading the series since Book I and although this is 21 in the series, you can still enjoy it without having read the previous books. I am sorry that more of the series is not on audio, as I enjoy the series so much. I hate it when I read the end and find I enjoy listening to the book over again.

David Thorpe does an excellent job in reading. He gives all the characters unique voice which really bring out the personality of each character.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I love Susanna Gregory 's characters the are so vivid and funny

The narrator does not give Michael's voice the strength it needs which is disappointing. For that reason I was unhappy with the performance.

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  • shirley
  • 10-05-15

excellent story.

Well written and read story. I have always loved the characters and they were really brought to life by the narrator

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony M. Padgett
  • 09-24-17

A surfeit of voices?

Would you consider the audio edition of A Poisonous Plot to be better than the print version?

yes

What aspect of David Thorpe’s performance might you have changed?

His vocal characterisations

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh. If Ms. Gregory's history is correct, I wonder how the Middle Ages ever became the 'latter ages'.

Any additional comments?

Although I've listened to the whole series of Mathew Bartholomew I have in general, preferred the vocal characterisations of David Thorpe.However, after Andrew Wincott took over for two of the books, ( I was not over enamoured of his work), David seemed to lose his characterisations. Simrick in particular seemed to forget that he was Welsh and Agnes lost her rough edge. Even Michael was hard to recognise at times.In addition the Geography of Cambridge went awry at times. "The Angel" seemed to move itself from South of the "Brazen George" to East of the "Cardinal's Cap".. It can be quite disconcerting.However, I still enjoy the series. Thank you Ms. Gregory.

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  • Sarah Fellows
  • 05-21-17

Good story, awful narrator

I'm a big fan of Susanna Gregory. I've read (and listened to) all of her Thomas Chaloner books and read most of her Matthew Bartholomew series. I've read this book in print so I know the story's good, but I struggled to finish the audio book.

The narrator is terrible. He sounds like he's shouting at you despite speaking at normal volume. He reads like he's never read out loud before. It's strangely disjointed and almost impossible to get lost in the story.

It's such a shame, I would have loved to listen to all of the Matthew Bartholomew books, but I can't get passed the narrator.

  • Overall
  • Arcticangel.
  • 07-03-15

Good read

Good read, as always from this author, but falls a little short of some of her other work. I was interested, but not rivetted.