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The Killer of Pilgrims
Matthew Bartholomew – Chronicles, No 16

By Susanna Gregory

        There is always unrest between town and gown, but following a period of relative peace there is once more trouble brewing.  This time it is between colleges and the poorer hostels, but who exactly is fanning the flames and why?  Then there is the shrine of a minor saint -- St Simon Stock, -- which is attracting pilgrims and pardoners as well as a killer thief who steals pilgrim tokens and murders people.  As if this wasn’t enough for Matt and Michael to investigate, Michaelhouse has the builders in.  During an altercation involving Agatha, a dog and some meat a body is revealed behind some stacked tiles:; the body of a wealthy and unpopular landlord.
Nobody writes historical mystery quite like Ms Gregory.  If you like your whodunits madcap and aren’t too worried about historical verisimilitude then you will find plenty here to entertain.  Bodies galore, a primitive form of football and plenty of cowboy builder humor are among the treats on offer this time, and of course we get to catch up with the latest exploits of the series’ characters.

  I never think that whodunits are meant to be quite this long and so there are times when nothing new is happening. and some editing would have made the whole thing better, but on the whole Ms Gregory manages to throw all the balls into the air at the beginning and keep them there.  There probably ought to be a special sub-genre for her work, but as there isn’t I often think that she is to the histmyst novel what Terry Pratchett is to fantasy.  A flawed, but inimitable mystery.

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

Sphere (Little, Brown)
3 June 2010
1847442986 / 9781847442987
Historical Mystery / 1358 Cambridge, England
More at Amazon US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2010
© 2010