Header Picture

Header Picture

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin

Read for the RIP IV Reading Challenge.

In Cambridge, during the reign of Henry II, four children have been murdered. The town’s Jews have been wrongly accused of the murders. They've been given sanctuary by the sheriff, and are now trapped in the castle under threat of death by the townspeople outside. So Henry sends to the famed medical school of Salerno, asking for one of their doctors who has been trained in the art of death, more or less a medieval coroner. They send a woman, Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, along with a Jew and a Moor as her protectors and fellow investigators, and these three have to untangle the mystery of the murdered children of Cambridge.

I really enjoyed this book. The author painted a very vivid picture of life in this medieval town, filled with a fantastic cast of characters: churchmen and women, nobles, and the common folk. Adelia was a wonderful addition into this cast of characters. She’s short-tempered and fairly bewildered by the alien culture she finds herself in, but grows to appreciate it, even as she learns more details about the horrific murders that have brought her there.

I was fairly proud of myself for figuring out the identity of the murderer before s/he was revealed, to a certain point. There was a great twist to that that I never in a million years saw coming (though I don’t read a lot of mysteries, so it might be more obvious to a slightly more trained eye). It’s the twists that make this story great. You never quite know what’s going to happen next, and it’s a great ride.

No comments: