About the Book

In 1360 a deputation from Cambridge ventures to the Suffolk town of Clare in the hope that the wealthy Elizabeth de Burgh has left a legacy to Michaelhouse. Yet when they arrive they discover that the report of her death is false and that the college seems destined for bankruptcy.Determined to see if some of its well-heeled citizens can be persuaded to sponsor Michaelhouse, Matthew Bartholomew, Brother Michael and Master Langelee become enmeshed in the town's politics. They quickly discover that a great many other people in Clare have recently met untimely deaths. These killings, combined with the arrogance Lady de Burgh has shown over the refurbishment of the church and the grotesque behaviour of some of her entourage, have created a dangerous restlessness in the town: an atmosphere intensified when yet more murders occur.



About the Author

Susanna Gregory

Susanna Gregory is the pseudonym of , a Cambridge academic who was previously a coroner's officer. She writes detective fiction, and is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridge. She writes detective fiction, and is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridge. These books may have some aspects in common with the Ellis Peters Cadfael series, the mediaeval adventures of a highly intelligent Benedictine monk and herbalist who came to the Benedictine order late in an eventful life, bringing with him considerable secular experience and wisdom combined with a deal of native wit. This sets him apart from his comparatively innocent and naíve monastic brethren. His activities, both as a monk and a healer, embroil him in a series of mysterious crimes, both secular and monastic, and he enthusiastically assumes the rôle of an amateur sleuth. Sceptical of superstition, he is somewhat ahead of his time, and much accurate historical detail is woven into the adventures. But there any resemblance to the comparatively warm-hearted Cadfael series ends: the tone and subject matter of the Gregory novels is far darker and does not shrink from portraying the harsh realities of life in the Middle Ages. The first in the series, A Plague on Both Your Houses is set against the ravages of the Black Death and subsequent novels take much of their subject matter from the attempts of society to recover from this disaster. These novels bear the marks of much detailed research into mediaeval conditions - many of the supporting characters have names taken from the documentation of the time, referenced at the end of each book - and bring vividly to life the all-pervading squalor of living conditions in England during the Middle Ages. The deep-rooted and pervasive practice of traditional leechcraft as it contrasts with the dawning science of evidence-based medicine is a common bone of contention between Matthew and the students he teaches at Michaelhouse College (now part of Trinity College, Cambridge) , whilst the conflict between the students of Cambridge and the townsfolk continually threatens to escalate into violence. Another series of books, set just after the Restoration of Charles II and featuring Thomas Chaloner, detective and former spy, began with A Conspiracy of Violence published in January 2006, and continues with The Body in the Thames, published in hardback edition January 2011.



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