Mistress of the Art of Death : Mistress of the Art of Death

  • by Ariana Franklin
  • Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
  • Series: Mistress of the Art of Death
  • 13 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 to 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 help to catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily, whose subjects are 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 this 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 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, 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 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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What the Critics Say

"Franklin...delivers rich period detail and a bloody good ending reflecting the savagery of the times." (Booklist)
"A skillful blend of historical fact and gruesome fiction that's more than sufficient to keep readers interested and entertained." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

History-Mystery of the Year & its only March

Adelia is sent from Salerno to Cambridge, requested by Henry II, and ordered by the King of Sicily, to look into the deaths of several children in medieval Cambridge. She arrives with Simon of Naples, a Jewish fixer and Mansur her Saracen manservant. Adelia is a doctor who "reads bodies." She is strong, straight talking, and devoted to science. She is also broadminded & has a sense of humor. On the road into town she cures a local Prior which gives her the beginnings of support in the town. The support grows as her unique qualities, and those of her companions, attract help from other people in town.

I will not give anything else away.
It's a must read. It combines everything I love in an Audible book: history, mystery, intelligence, humor, characters you care about, an excellent reader, and great writing.
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- Irenehope

good story wonderfully set

The mystery in this story is good, but the characters and setting are even better. This takes place in 11th century London, and the main character is an Italian woman doctor who specializes in forensic pathology. I wanted to stop listening and save some for an upcoming drive, but I was unable to stop. I thoroughly enjoyed this listen.
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- Jami E. Nettles

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-18-2007
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio