The Killer of Pilgrims: The Sixteenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew

Susanna Gregory, Sphere (IPG, dist.), $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-84744-298-7
British author Gregory again displays her mastery of complex storytelling and period detail in her 16th mystery set in 14th-century Cambridge, the home of doctor, instructor, and corpse examiner Matthew Bartholomew (after 2009's A Vein of Deceit). Amid an atmosphere of increasing tension between Cambridge's colleges and the less affluent hostels, Bartholomew must identify the killer of taverner John Drax, who was initially believed the victim of an accident, until the physician found a fatal stab wound on his body. For many, the book's pleasures will stem less from the resolution of the various interlocking puzzles than from the utterly convincing portrait of an England still recovering from the great pestilence of the previous decade, complete with familiar complaints about the timeliness of home contractors' work and avaricious people seeking to profit from the tragic plague. Unlike in many other long-running series, newcomers will find nothing inaccessible in this installment. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
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