Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Little, Brown (Time Warner)
Release Date: 5 June 2003
ISBN: 0316860115
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Historical Crime [1354 Cambridge, England]
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

A Killer in Winter
The Ninth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
By Susanna Gregory 

     There's 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.

     Although 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.

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