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Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana…

Mistress of the Art of Death (2007)

by Ariana Franklin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mistress of the Art of Death (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,4492282,403 (3.93)586
In medieval Cambridge four children are murdered. The Catholics blame the Jews and they are placed under the protection of the King Henry VIII. The king sends for someone to do a scientific investigation into the deaths. The person sent is an Italian woman doctor, but in medieval Cambridge she must conceal her true identity to keep herself safe.… (more)
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» See also 586 mentions

English (225)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
A bit slow at first but it picks up speed and you find yourself racing along with the characters to determine the killers next moves. ( )
  AnnaHernandez | Oct 17, 2019 |
I liked the time period and the characters on the whole, but the nature of the crime was too much for me. It was as though the author went to extremes to find the worst of all crimes: a serial killer who is also a pedophile and tortures and maims his victims. I also felt like the romance element was overly artificial, but I really don't like romance in books, so my opinion may be biased on this. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
It's the 12th century, and in Cambridge, England, small children have gone missing only for their bodies to turn up later, mutilated. The local Jews are blamed, because of course they are, and the King isn't pleased, because he was collecting a lot of taxes from those Jews, who are now holed up in hiding and not doing any business. So he sends for an expert to examine the bodies and hopefully figure out who killed them. He gets Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, who was educated in Salerno, Italy, the one place where women are trained to be doctors.

I have kind of mixed feelings about this one. The medieval murder mystery plot is interesting enough and there are some fairly likeable characters. It could perhaps have done with some editing in the earlier parts of the novel, as I feel like we're too often given the same information more than once, but overall it's a decent read.

But I kept being distracted by my utter inability to suspend my disbelief for the way medieval medicine is treated. I don't necessarily have a problem with the idea that the main character is ahead of her time in being an unusually scientific thinker. But there's no sense at all of the context in which she's operating, in terms of the world's understanding (or misunderstanding) of medicine at the time. There are things she's ignorant of, but nothing she's wrong about, and no sense that 12th century medicine was fundamentally any different from 21st century medicine. And, while I'm no expert in history, I'm pretty sure it was. Given how much historical detail the author includes in other areas, this seems particularly odd, and I found it jarring and a little hard to get past. ( )
1 vote bragan | Oct 10, 2019 |
You are a drab, she told herself, seduced into infatuation by a soldier’s tale. Outremer, bravery, crusade, it is illusory romance.

Greg wrote this https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/131685594?book_show_action=false&page=... a few years back and the crux is applicable here. I was looking for a detour, something fun after so much Rome, plague and Theory. I found Ms. Franklin's premise interesting, if highly improbable. Such proceeded and the tale veered into the impossible. The protagonist maintains a bubble of certainty which is repellent to most measures of Medieval mindset. This may work with Bones or the Gringa Detective on The Bridge but a stoic investigator appears almost silly during the reign of Henry II. The plot is standard, someone is abducting children and murdering them. local logical implicates the Jews. The service of three investigators from Salermo are summoned. Keen-witted urchins and tax collectors with golden hearts contribute greatly. Henry has the best lines, chewing through scenes like Peter O'Toole and becoming the Deus ex machina to a plot leaning painfully on the Crusades and the corpse of Thomas Becket. Consider me underwhelmed. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Fantastically interesting book. A bit dark but truly a page turner, I found that I wanted to read it again almost immediately after finishing it which is always the mark of a good book for me. ( )
  magickislife | Nov 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
What he gets is Adelia Aguilar, a doctor whose independent mind and arrogant manner are as unorthodox as her profession. Adelia is a delight and her spirited efforts to stop the killings, while tending to the sick, making friends and finding romance, add to our appreciation of her forensic skills. But the lonely figure who truly stands out in Franklin’s vibrant tapestry of medieval life is King Henry — an enlightened monarch condemned to live in dark times.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Franklin, Arianaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Đurić, MilanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Himmelstoss, BeateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nowak-Kreyer, MaciejTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pasetti, Maria ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenbloom, MiriamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sønsteng, GryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schiøtt, LeneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaleṿ, AyalahTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stålmarck, YlvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmermann, KlausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wasel, UlrikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yoshizawa, YasukoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Helen Heller,
mistress of the art of thrillers
First words
Here they come. From down the road we can hear harness jingling and see dust rising into the warm spring sky.
Love, however doomed, had the capacity to attach buoys to the soul.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Ariana Franklin is the pen name of Diana Norman.
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
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. Henry II is no friend of the Jews -- or anyone, really -- but he believes in law and order, and he desperately need the taxes and loans he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will help catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily, whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe, to send a forensics specialist. 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. Her name is Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar: the king has been sent a "mistress of the art of death." In the backward and superstitious country that is England, Adelia faces danger at every turn. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, she 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 either a much-needed friend or an ally of the fiend they seek. 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... (978-0-399-15414-0)
Haiku summary
Mistress of the art
of death helps to uncover
Cambridge child killer.
Medieval woman
studies Dark Age forensics
solves baffling crime

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Average: (3.93)
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