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The Mark of a Murderer
Matthew Barthlomew Chronicles, No 11

by Susanna Gregory

       If it is June, then there must be a new Susanna Gregory mystery on the bookshelves! Matt and Michael are back for an eleventh misadventure involving the infamous St Scholastica's Day massacre in Oxford. A few months after this event some of the scholars have fled their town and come to stay in property owned by Oxford University in Cambridge. The town is getting spruced up for a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but before the scholars have been in their new home a few hours two people are already dead. It seems as though they died in very bizarre circumstances, and if an even worse massacre is to be avoided, Matt and Michael had better get busy.

      There are plenty of laughs in here as usual, and an array of strange characters both new and old. We get to see a bit more of Michaelhouse's most enigmatic scholar the mad Clippesby, and wonder why Matt cannot tear himself away from Mathilde. Like a soap, old threads are picked up again and woven enjoyably into a new story, and if you like convoluted plots then this one will certainly keep you guessing. Like the other books in the series, this doorstop could stand some judicious editing, as the sleuths hoof it around town repeating themselves somewhat. This series works best when there is something to laugh at, or something outrageous happening and when there isn't, just screeds of questioning, it can grow rather tedious. But it is all great good fun, and I wouldn't miss my yearly virtual trip to mediaeval Cambridge for the world.

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Masterly Murder, No 6     [review]
The Hand of Justice, No 10     [review]
The Mark of a Murderer, No 11     [review]
The Tarnished Chalice, No 12     [review]
To Kill or Cure, No 13     [review]
The Devil’s Disciples, No 14     [review]
A Vein of Deceit, No 15     [review]
The Killer of Pilgrims, No 16     [review]
Mystery in the Minster, No 17     [review]
Murder By The Book, No 18    [review]

The Book

Little Brown
June 2005
Historical Crime [1355 Cambridge, England]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005