Mistress of the Art of Death

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Penguin Canada, Mar 4, 2008 - Fiction - 496 pages
134 Reviews
In medieval Cambridge, four children have been murdered. The Catholic townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors, so to save them from the rioting mob, the Cambridge Jews are placed under the protection of the king. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews—or anyone, really—but he believes in law and order, and he desperately needs the taxes he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily—whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe—and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," the earliest form of medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno, an expert in the science of anatomy and the art of detection. But her name is Adelia; the king has been sent a "mistress of the art of death."

In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia faces danger at every turn. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, Adelia must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she’s assisted by one of the king’s tax collectors, Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend ... or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia’s investigation takes her along Cambridge’s shadowy river paths, and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again...

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User Review  - e2d2 - LibraryThing

This book is filled with strong characters, especially the protagonist Adelia who refuses to be anything than what she is: a 12th century forensic scientist. The writing is unique and clear, leaving ... Read full review

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User Review  - urph818 - LibraryThing

I listened to this Audio book while driving in to work and I thought it was terrific. I saw the book in my daughters book collection. It's a historical mystery, set in medieval Cambridge; its heroine ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Ariana Franklin was the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A former journalist, Norman had written several critically acclaimed biographies and historical novels. She lived in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, the film critic Barry Norman. Ariana was the author of the acclaimed, award-winning Mistress of the Art of Death series. She passed away in 2011, before she was able to deliver the manuscript for Winter Siege. Her daughter, Samantha, who began working life in publishing as a junior editor in children's books before moving in to freelance journalism, decided to complete the novel on her mother's behalf. Samantha Norman is a journalist and broadcaster who is mad about horses. She lives in west London with her two sons Harry and Charlie, and their dogs Becks and Spider.

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