Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Little, Brown (AOL Time Warner)
Release Date: June 2002
ISBN: 0316859524
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Mystery / Historical Crime (1354 Ely, England)
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:


A Summer of Discontent
The Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew, No. 8
By Susanna Gregory

     Those Cambridge scholars and crime solvers Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Micheal are back for an eighth outing of mayhem and murder, this time set in Ely during a summer heatwave. Michael has been summoned to his Benedictine motherhouse to try and solve some murders, for which his bishop Thomas de Lisle has been accused. Matt just wants to examine some books on medicine, but of course they both find themselves embroiled in a complex - and increasingly dangerous - situation, and as the body count rises and the number of suspects lessens, the pair have their work cut out for them just to stay alive!

      Tongue firmly in cheek, this is the usual irreverent and over-the-top hokum that fans of this unusual and highly readable series are familiar with. This is a long book for a whodunit, but it manages to carry its length well as the complicated plot thickens and added to its heady mixture is plenty of humor and adventure, all set during a heatwave that one can almost feel radiating from the pages. The ingredients include the bishop's nymphomaniac daughter, a band of gypsies, some truly gargantuan meals, several ancient monks who think they are fighting the Scots and some very strong beer. As ever, Matt is a rather dull but potentially sensible companion to the gloriously ebullient and gluttonous Brother Michael, worldly monk and secret agent extraordinaire. Just on the believable side of bizarre…well, almost. The more extravagant and peculiar side of mediaeval life is well represented and the whole manages to be genuinely gripping and equally genuinely funny. Nobody else writes books quite like this, and that in itself is somewhat of a feat.

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