Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mistress of the Art of Death

by Ariana Franklin

Yes, I stumbled into another series, but at least this time from the beginning. In the midst of the second crusades, Cambridge England finds itself in a battle of another kind, to find who is killing their children. When four bodies turn up badly mutilated, King Henry Plantagenet solicits assistance from Salerno's medical school to investigate. What they get is the Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar, one of the only women trained as a doctor, let alone an investigator of the dead. As a mystery goes this is a pretty good story and although you might figure out the culprit ahead of time, there are some unexpected twists to throw you off. Up until the time when the killer is discovered I liked the book, but after that it started slipping. Without spoiling, I just could not accept that Adelia's defense in that pit stopped this crusader of a madman. The other thing that put me off was the little romance thrown in, which seemed out of line for the character and took the story a bit off course.

If you're a fan of historical fiction I wouldn't put too much stock in Franklin's information. Much of the time I questioned its validity particularly relating to medical facts and sometimes doubted attitudes and actions of characters. I've been known to really berate books for attributing details to times in which they don't belong, but for some reason I wasn't as bothered by these... maybe because I was listening to it and not reading?  I might even go so far as to read the next one, but it'll be a while.

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