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A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death #4)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  5,973 Ratings  ·  701 Reviews
Also see: Alternate Cover Editions for this ISBN [ACE]
ACE #1

In 1176, King Henry II sends his daughter Joanna to Palermo to marry his cousin, the king of Sicily. Henry chooses Adelia Aguilar, his Mistress of the Art of Death, to travel with the princess and safeguard her health. But when people in the wedding procession are murdered, Adelia and Rowley must discover the
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons (first published 2010)
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Susan I just found this on Wikipedia:

Winter Siege (2014/UK), to be published as The Siege Winter in the US (2015), a standalone set in 1141 during the…more
I just found this on Wikipedia:

Winter Siege (2014/UK), to be published as The Siege Winter in the US (2015), a standalone set in 1141 during the conflict between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. The unfinished manuscript was completed by the author's daughter, Samantha Norman.

It doesn't seem to be Book 5, does it? Let's hope there is another unfinished manuscript.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jamie Collins
I liked this very much, even though the book ends with a wrenching cliffhanger and the author has died, so there will be no resolution. We are left with some of our characters achingly separated from the others, and with one character in the process of bleeding to death. I'm sure the author didn't intend to die before she could write another book, but I dislike such cliffhangers in general.

Otherwise, this is an odd story, but enjoyable. Adelia accompanies the king's young daughter Joanna to her
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I liked the other 3 previous books better. Some of the characters did not go on this adventure, and they were missed... others were brought back and I would have rather have them not.

The romantic stories were pretty much missed at every opportunity.

I hope there will be a 5th book and the issues above will be different.
Lauren Fidler
ok, i love this series, but overall, i felt very...conflicted...after this installment.

i have NEVER loved rowley, he is not my first choice for adelia. he's sort of like "mr. big" to adelia's medieval carrie. only, in the case of the television show, i LIKED mr. big.

i don't know. the premise here is that scarry (whose name i agonized over pronouncing. i have some bizarre totally connotation-created mental picture of him as a cross between one of richard scarry's plucky animal-people and simba'
First Sentence: Between the parishes of Shepfold and Martlake in Somerset existed an area of no-man’s-land and a lot of ill feeling.

Dr. Adelia Aguilar is thrilled to learn Henry II wants to send her to accompany his daughter Joanna’s wedding procession to her home of Sicily. Her feelings change to anger when she learns Henry is keeping Adelia’s daughter in England to ensure Adelia’s return. With them, and well concealed, will be Arthur’s sword, Excaliaber, as a gift to the bridegroom. Danger a r
This is the fourth book in the series, but I’m not sure whether it is the final one. I know the author has passed away, and her final book was completed by a family member, but I think it starts decades before the Adelia Aguilar series, so I’m not sure whether there is any connection or not.

It was a good read - as they always are, easy to follow and full of details about life in the 12th century. It's a little bit sad if this is the last there is of Adelia Aguilar and Rowley...
Richard Derus
Dec 16, 2011 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3.75* of five

The fourth "Mistress of the Art of Death" mystery in the ongoing series, this book was a grave (!) disappointment. To my *intense* irritation, Franklin chose to reveal the identity of the murderer for sure and certain on p19.

I ask nineteen...what in Satan's name (appropriate to the case, here, as Scarry-the-Satanist is the killer) possessed her to do that?! And what addlepated editor thought it was a good idea?!

One whole star off for that.

I was still reeling from
A Murderous Procession is the fourth installment in the medieval mystery series, The Mistress on the Art of Death series, by Ariana Franklin (who sadly passed away in 2011). The series features Ariana Aguilar, a medically trained doctor from Salerno (at this time-the 12th century-women were allowed in Salerno to become doctors) and her assistant, the eunuch Mansur. Adelia is forced by King Henry II to accompany his 10 year old daughter, Joanna (the titular "procession") who is on her way to marr ...more
Barb in Maryland
This 4th book featuring Adelia Aguilar is a very mixed bag. Henry II insists that Adelia(and most of her household) accompany his young daughter Joanna on Joanna's bridal journey to Sicily. Henry wants someone who really knows medicine along to keep his daughter healthy. And to insure Adelia comes back to England, Henry arranges for Adelia's daughter to "stay" with Eleanor of Aquitaine while Adelia is away.
So the bulk of the story involves the trek from England to Sicily. And it looks like someo
MB (What she read)
Wow! That was an intense book! I had to stop and take a break mid-way because the suspense was getting to me. The book ends on somewhat of a cliff-hanger with lots of loose ends for the next book, or books. I'm not sure how I feel about the way the story was left. But it certainly builds my anticipation for the next Adelia story.

I found myself thinking throughout how Adelia's troubles and interactions with the male-dominated Catholic church of that time were so pertinent to what I've been readin
Nov 09, 2013 Alondra rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
4 Stars

Its the end of an era. The last in this series, that was actually written by the author.

This story seems more fleshed out to me, and even more danger for Adelia as times are changing in Europe. With the christian church converting folk; whether folks want to be converted or not. Being anything other than white, anglo male is frowned upon. It is the beginning of punishment of those, for what the church views heretics, witches, saracens, etc. Adelia, Mansur and company tread on thin ice th
What a joy and delight that the fourth book in a series is as wonderfully written as the previous three! In fact, it may even be my favorite one yet. Of course, having just finished it gives it an advantage over the others. The character of Adelia Aguilar is simply one of which I can't get enough. Franklin lets Adelia continue to grow and evolve as the events around her places her in the middle of history and danger. The relationship with Rowley (who doesn't love a forbidden love?) also continue ...more
May 06, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
I've read a whole bunch of books over the last few months and this series is the only one I remember enough to rate, so that says something. Nothing brilliant here, but intelligent fun in the medieval world. King Richard! I love her take on this king, how he's been pretty besmirched in history and yet he is responsible for bringing some of the earliest laws of justice for all. And a different take on Eleanor of Aquitaine, and all their pesky children. The characters are great. It has a modern ou ...more
Dec 25, 2011 Felicia rated it liked it

Ok still great time era, research, details etc. But my least favorite of this series.

Adelia and Rowley: I'm a fan but treading water a LOT in this relationship. Also Adelia was particularly whiney here to me.
Ulf; Love seeing him back!!!
Scarey: UGH I HATED HIM! I was so mad he wasn't resolved last book, and here he is, we know who he is most the book, he talks in italics, UGH I HATE HIM.

Jan 31, 2012 Gary rated it it was ok
Getting a bit 'samey' now. Predictable and nothing like as enjoyable as the first couple of books. The info on the Cathars was interesting but on the whole I think the series has run it's course. I won't be getting the next, if there is one.
Jul 05, 2011 Gena rated it it was amazing
This is the fourth in Ms. Franklin’s “Mistress of the Art of Death” series and sadly, due to her passing away, it is the last. In this book King Henry II forces Adelia Aguilar to accompany the Princess Joanna to Sicily for her wedding. Adelia is the only real medical authority he trusts to watch over his ten year old daughter on the long and arduous journey.

Adelia is slightly reluctant about making the trip even though it is to her homeland but after nearly ten years in England she has grown to
Ravin Maurice
Mar 06, 2012 Ravin Maurice rated it it was amazing
The fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series did not disappoint.
Ariana Franklin (may she rest in peace, the world lost a brilliant voice) has a way of turning the medieval world into a place that you feel like you know really well, like you've lived there your entire life. Her characters are well rounded, even the ones that have small parts (I'm speaking of Fabrisse in this particular book), and her plotting is brilliant, a true mystery that keeps you up at night so you can
I've mixed emotions about this one. I love the series and wanted it to go on, but with the death of Ariana Franklin a few years back, this is the last book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. I'm so glad I discovered the books, each one was better than the previous one. I've grown to feel a sentimental, personal attachment to the characters; the lovely, independent Adelia Aguilar, the Mistress of the art of death, who is confined to England by the King Henry II; her lover, Bishop Rowley, ...more
The 4th book and I was hoping to see some character development but it seems that the main characters are trapped by the plot demands including more personal danger for Adelia. However, Ulf was a pleasure and Boggart as well, but no Gyltha, although I am glad that someone is willing to teach her daughter some social skills. There was a lot of religion which got a bit slow and draggy in the middle, with lots of travelling side trips that didn't really move the main story along.

Personally, I think
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Laura Edwards
A 2.5 The reason the fourth book is rated a 2 by me and not a 3 like the first three in the series is because the story is just more of the "same old same old". Rowley's still an arrogant a-hole, a character I cannot stand. Even when reading his inner thoughts, he comes off as a selfish person. And I don't feel that he really loves Adelia, the person. He loves the ideal, fantasy version constructed in his mind because in his thoughts he's continually thinking up ways to change her fundamental ch ...more
Oct 13, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
As I was looking at book summaries on Ariana Franklin's website to remind myself of past book events, I came across the sad news that she (real name Diana Norman) had passed away earlier in the year. Enjoying the Adelia books as I have, I found this news quite sad and was determined to savor this last of the series. I was still sad, then, to find that I enjoyed it the least of the 4 books. It took me a while to put my finger on what dissatisfied me. At first, I thought it was merely the rambling ...more
Apr 10, 2010 Dorie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
While worth reading, this is not the strongest entry in the series. Adelia Aguilar, mistress of the art of death, has been an enjoying a quiet life in the countryside with her daughter, Allie, although she wants nothing more than to return to her native Sicily. Then King Henry II demands that she accompany his daughter Joanna to Sicily for her marriage, but he keeps Allie with Queen Eleanor to ensure that Adelia returns. However, a series of murders in the procession soon point to a killer who i ...more
For some reason, picked this up despite not having read #2 or #3 of the series, and proceeded to be utterly sucked in to the next slice of Adelia's most unusual life.

This author makes history truly come alive for me like few others; as I read about the latest developments in Adelia's personal life and those of her close companions, I felt desperately sad that it seems that with the author's recent passing, readers will learn no more about this unique cast of characters.

Perhaps because of that
Apr 23, 2013 Peisenberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series has been one of my favorites, and I was so sorry to read that the author has died. Although this is not the best in the series, still there are some fascinating things to learn about life in the early middle ages. The main character in this series is a female forensic medical examiner who has to pretend that her manservent is actually the doctor, lest she be killed as a witch. In this book, she is to accompany the King of England's daughter to Sicily, where she is to marry the king o ...more
Sharon Bolton
Jan 10, 2012 Sharon Bolton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fourth, and so sadly, the last in the Adelia Aguilar series, but every bit as engrossing and engaging as the previous three. Mediaeval pathologist (you have to read the books, trust me, it works) Adelia is sent by Henry 11, one of my favourite characters in literature, on a trip to Sicily to a) safeguard his daughter's health and b) hand over Excalibur to his friend and future son-in-law, the King of Sicily. Tricky enough in those days, but to make matters worse an assassin, with an old score to ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Karrie rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much. I actually have to say this is one of my favorite series ever. I have grown so attached to the characters and adore the authors writing. My only complaint is the ending. If this ending were leading to another novel I would say it was a great way to keep readers on the edge of their seats for the next in the series. But sadly, since learning that Ariana Franklin passed away in 2011, there will be no resolution. It was left with everyone waiting to find out what happ ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Bridget rated it liked it

Adelia is known as the Mistress of the Art of Death. Some call her a witch because of her healing abilities, some are aware of her talent but others would be more than terrified of this strong-willed woman. She has to perform her art craft under the guise of a translator. It's tough but Adelia makes it seem effortless.

When King Henry II wants to send his daughter to marry, he chooses Adelia to make sure that his daughter arrives safely. Once they set off, people seem to be dropping dead all arou
Jan 17, 2016 2016Myobgmail.Com rated it it was amazing
This author (whose real name is Diana Norman) is right up there with Shakespeare for me. This mystery series is set in midieval England and features a woman pathologist (Note: In those days she would have been considered a witch) who solves mysteries. The story is rich and riveting. The characters are memorable and well developed. The details about life in this era are fascinating (food, hygiene, relationships, politics). I read this book, and the others in the series, one after the other. I hav ...more
Kate Forsyth
Aug 14, 2011 Kate Forsyth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant series of medieval murder mysteries featuring the intelligent and difficult Mistress of the Art Of Death, Adelia Aguilar, who is an early (very early) forensic investigator. In this book, Adelia is sent to accompany the king’s daughter, Joanna, on her lavish thousand-mile journey to marry the King of Sicily. Travelling in the same train is a sadistic killer who seeks revenge on Adelia for a former mystery she solved. The killer’s only aim is to see Adelia burn as a witch, and ...more
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Ariana Franklin was the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A former journalist, Norman had written several critically acclaimed biographies and historical novels. She lived in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, the film critic Barry Norman.

The Death Maze (UK) is published as The Serpent's Tale in the US.
Relics of the Dead (UK) is published as Grave Goods in the US.
The Assassin'
More about Ariana Franklin...

Other Books in the Series

Mistress of the Art of Death (4 books)
  • Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death, #1)
  • The Serpent's Tale (Mistress of the Art of Death, #2)
  • Grave Goods (Mistress of the Art of Death, #3)

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