Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Tarnished Chalice
The Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew, No 12

by Susanna Gregory

      For the twelfth in this uproarious and unconventional series Matt and Michael (plus Suttone) have journeyed to Lincoln. Matt is on the last lap of a long leave of absence from the University, searching for missing femme fatale Matilde and is now looking in the place where she turned down another offer of marriage... this time to a wealthy merchant. Michael and Suttone are going there to become canons, but the group are horrified to find Lincoln to be a city down on its luck, a bone between two warring factions of tradesmen, and the cathedral a hotbed of corruption. As the body count rises, the fact that Cynric is convinced Bishop Gynewell is a demon becomes the least of their worries.

If you like your historical hysterical then look no further - those in search of more erudite and serious history had better seek elsewhere. Gregory paints a picture of a seedy city in the grip of a bitter winter, while rival factions murder each other and a brothel operates in the cathedral close. Missing relics, a twenty-year old trial, lots of suspects (and bodies), feuds, rival factions and a possible secret fraternity all add to a tortuous plot that will have the reader charging after red herrings. Gregory has carved out a special niche for herself in the sub-genre of historical crime (a sub-sub-genre). Where else would you find an imp-like bishop complete with pitchfork, the loudest choir in England and the most flamboyant form of food poisoning? It is a bit too drawn out for its own good, but will divert a reader pleasantly and originally for quite a long time. Anarchic, anachronistic and arch, but oddly addictive...

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 1, 2006
Historical Crime - 1356, Lincoln, UK
More at Amazon

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006