Monday, February 11, 2008

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

Mistress of the Art of Death
Ariana Franklin
February 5, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-21925-6

When Cambridge becomes the site of a grizzly murder, King Henry II looks to his friend, the King of Sicily, for help in finding a ‘doctor to the dead’. While he’s expecting the arrival of a master of the art of death, what Cambridge receives instead is a mistress who has trained at the University of Salerno, but has to hide her occupation from the local population. With Simon of Naples who is a criminal investigator, and Mansur who serves as her bodyguard, Adelia sets out to discover the truth behind the vicious slaying of a local child. What awaits her arrival is the realization that there have been three more children abducted and murdered in the same manner as the first.

The king’s tax collector, Sir Rowley Picot, becomes a significant help in the investigation and shows an interest in Adelia, but she won’t allow herself to be distracted. There’s more to the case and resulting chaos than discovering the killer, because the Jewish residents of Cambridge have had to leave their homes and businesses to be guarded for their safety. The town blames them for the deaths of its children, and it will take more than Adelia’s findings to set things straight.

Mistress of the Art of Death is a medieval criminal investigation with a brilliant twist. When a crime needs solving and there’s no crime scene to analyze, the job falls to someone who can get their answers from the dead. Adelia is the right one for the job, but in the 1170’s the majority still believes it’s a man’s job. Ms. Franklin blends historical fiction with a well-detailed and riveting murder investigation. This gripping suspense smoothly builds to a dramatic climax that will continue to surprise readers to the end.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews


Anonymous said...

Holy cra....cow! You whip through these ninety-to-nothing, don't you? Whew. I certainly can't keep up.

Kimberly Swan said...

Hi T. C. - Nah, if you scroll down through them you'll see all of the gaps between posts. A lot of times I get books well in advance but can't post the review until a certain date. Then it looks like I've been reading Did you check out this review? It's not fantasy, it's a medieval criminal investigation. Shocking at times, but once you start reading, you're caught up in it.

Anonymous said...

I love the title. I've not been to interested in mysteries lately.

Kimberly Swan said...

SCooper - For me it's usually historicals that I read very few of, but she's done such a wonderful job writing it that I was pulled right in to the story. There are so many factors working against Adelia and yet she manages to find the clues in a very reasonable way.