Little, Brown (Time Warner)
Date: 5 June 2003
it at Amazon
Historical Crime [1354 Cambridge, England]
Rachel A Hyde
Killer in Winter
The Ninth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
something decidedly fishy going on in Cambridge. The populace is
shivering in the worst winter anybody can remember and getting ready
for Christmas. At the College this is with some trepidation, as
it seems likely that the mischievous Gray will be elected Lord of
Misrule again, and is all the pagan greenery necessary? Such worries
soon pale, since Matthew Bartholomew's erstwhile lover, Philippa,
is back in town, only this time with her wealthy husband and on
pilgrimage to Walsingham. As Matt frets about the inevitable meeting,
a body is found in an unusual place and soon they have another one
to worry about, and then yet another.
they are prone to flights of fantasy, some downright silliness and
a generous dose of anachronism, I confess to enjoying these comic
whodunits very much. Where else can you read about a dancing pardoner
selling books about fish, or a mad priest who talks to animals?
This is part of the special magic that has made this unusual series
run for nine tubby books and show no signs of flagging. As ever,
it manages to carry a substantial length and I am sure most readers
won't fathom its complicated plot, although they are bound to laugh
at its humor. I have resigned myself to the inevitable fact that
Matt is going to remain a dull and gullible foil to the more interesting
Brother Michael and the bovver-the-top bunch of Michaelhouse lecturers.
As the series goes, this episode is comparatively restrained, with
a lower body count and more emphasis on plot than larking around,
which is all to the good. So, sit back and enjoy this rollicking
tale of a mediaeval Christmas.