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A Deadly Brew (Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles 4) (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Susanna Gregory

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140285,666 (3.86)1
Member:Jawin
Title:A Deadly Brew (Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles 4)
Authors:Susanna Gregory
Info:Little, Brown Book Group (1999), Paperback, 484 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Historical Fiction

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A Deadly Brew by Susanna Gregory (1998)

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Another mystery in medaeval cambridge that it requires Brother Michael & Dr Bartholemew to solve. This starts on the day of the inaugeration of a new master of a troublesome college, and bu the end of the day there are 2 very similar deaths to investigate - bu a fast acting poison. So where did the bottles come from? And what has this got to do with an expanded smuggling operation that's causing damage and destruction this winter. It all gets a bit intricate, there's a case of winter fever that turns out to be somewhat sinister, and they get into serious trouble more than once, but come through with the villian identified. We meet Brother Michael's grandmother - a very interesting woman and there has to be something genetic at work there! As usual, some of the minor characters are a bit thin, but the whole hangs together rather well. Overall, pretty good. ( )
  Helenliz | Mar 31, 2013 |
This book is the fourth in the series following the 14th century adventures of the physician Matthew Bartholomew and his friend, Friar Michael, in Cambridge. Trained by Arabs, his methods may raise eyebrows but they are effective. Bartholomew is also a teacher at a Cambridge college and his sometimes unorthodox treatment of his patients draws accusations of heresy from his more traditional, but less skilled colleagues.

It's the winter of 1353 and the town of Cambridge and its residents have still not recovered from the havoc wreaked by the plague. Winter and spring have not helped, being extremely wet. There is a fever outbreak amongst the poorer people of the town. The fact that the Cambridge colleges are gaining a reputation for their wealth is making the tension between the townsfolk and the students even more precarious.

On top of all this a student dies, reportedly after drinking poisoned wine. Then there is a second victim, Dittone, the deputy master of a new college. But the puzzling thing is that there seems to be little or no connection between the master and the student. Bartholomew must try to solve the mystery before the town and the university are at one another's throat. He traces the poison to wine and smuggling operations that must be stopped before more people die. It is not long before he becomes a target of the murderers.

Matthew Bartholomew has become one of my favourite characters. The dialogue, particularly between Bartholomew and his friend Michael, is sharp and has an element of wry humour. Michael is a little darker in this book. He is still Mathew's friend, but he has his own agenda as well.

Gregory creates such a strong sense of time and place. You can feel the cold, wet, mud outside and the draughty damp rooms. You also see the contrasts and conflicts between the religion and science; gown and town; the wealthy and the poor.

I’m off to open the next one. ( )
1 vote Jawin | Nov 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751520071, Paperback)

In the winter of 1353, torrential rains are spreading fever to the poor and making travel especially hazardous along the town’s outlaw-infested roads. Then three members of the University die by drinking poisoned wine. College physician Matthew Bartholomew would rather not get involved in the investigation, but when his life is threatened, he stumbles on criminal activities that implicate friends, relatives, and colleagues—a deadly brew of evil intent.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:22 -0400)

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