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A Bone of Contention (Matthew Bartholomew #3)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  850 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Cambridge, 1392. Matthew Bartholomew, physician to Michaelhouse College, is called to examine some mysterious bones found in the King's Ditch. Next day he is called to the Ditch again: a student has been found dead there. Meanwhile, there is unrest in the town, and the strange disappearance of Dominica, former lover of the dead student and daughter of Waterstone, the ...more
Paperback, 506 pages
Published May 7th 1998 by Sphere (first published 1997)
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Madhulika Liddle
Sep 29, 2016 Madhulika Liddle rated it liked it
Cambridge, 1352, is a town divided. There is the town, and there is the university. The townsfolk resent the scholars, for having (supposedly) more wealth than them, for being literate, for looking down on them—and that hatred is returned in full measure. A few years after the plague has killed off one in three, the filthy and clogged King’s Ditch in Cambridge is dredged to help reduce the risk of disease. Buried in the muck is a skeleton. Could it be the martyr Simon D’Ambrey, who, twenty-five ...more
Evil Overlord List:

#6 - I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
#7 - When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."

So many villians fail to read this list *sigh*

ABone of Contention is a twisty, though not to Jonathon Kellerman levels of twisty, mystery based on an old lynching some twenty-five years in the past.
Kristi Thompson
Mar 18, 2009 Kristi Thompson rated it really liked it
Historical mystery, about the same time as Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries, but in some ways struck me as anti-cadfael - the setting was gritty, grimy, clear sense of the period's stifling attitudes, general unrest and grinding poverty, odd inaccurate medical theories and lack of hygiene. Very different from Peters' nice clean wholesome monastery and helpful herbalist!

And yet, it wasn't _grim_. The characters belonged to their times and didn't expect different, and lived their lives as b
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Villain has bad case of "James Bond movie villain talking disease," but entertaining enough.

For a further review: .
Georgiana 1792
Un nuovo Fratello Cadfael?

Si sa che i giovani studenti universitari sono spesso turbolenti. Ma accadeva anche a Cambridge nel 1352? A quanto pare sì. In una cittadina in cui le tensioni fra cittadini e istituzioni universitarie (gestite dagli ordini religiosi) erano al limite, e sfociavano spesso in scaramucce e talvolta in rivolte, in una cittadina che era appena stata decimata dalla Peste Nera del 1348, e che stava cercando di risollevarsi dai disastri provocati dall’epidemia; in una Cambridge
Loup Garou
Mar 04, 2013 Loup Garou rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Der Schatten der Pest liegt über Cambridge. Die Gläubigen suchen Schutz in der Macht heiliger Reliquien. Doch die Knochenhand eines Märtyrers, die Doctor Bartholomew zur Prüfung vorgelegt wird, ist viel zu bleich, um jahrelang im Sumpf gemodert zu haben. Und sie trägt einen Ring, wie er zuletzt die Hand eines Studenten schmückte. Eines Studenten, der letzte Nacht ermordet wurde.

"Ein falscher Heiliger" ist wie die anderen Teile der Reihe vollgepackt mit Informationen, Personen, Orten und Handlung
A BONE OF CONTENTION (Historical-Cambridge, England-1352) – G+
Gregory, Susanna – 3rd in series
LIttle, Brown & Company, 1997– UK Hardcover – ISBN 0316882301
*** Physician and teacher Matthew Bartholomew is summoned by Brother Michael to the King’s Ditch by the Hall of Valence Marie to identify bones found among the rubbish and sewage of the ditch. The Master of Valence is hoping the bones will be from the martyr Simon d’Ambrey in order to make the Hall famous and shower the Hall with gifts and
Nov 22, 2016 Rich rated it liked it
The discovery of bones in the Kings Ditch leads Matthew Bartholomew into another mystery which has the fate of Cambridge at its heart.

Extremely enjoyable novel. Gregory juggles a large cast of characters with skill although some of Matthew's colleagues remain a little anonymous to be able to stand out. Plenty of twists and turns, this does get quite convoluted but everything is explained by the end. My main criticism is that the book feels a bit too long. The pace of life then is depicted well b
Aug 29, 2016 Mandy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2012 Lesley rated it liked it
I'm enjoying reading this historical crime series set in the 1300's by Susanna Gregory. I read the first in the series after moving to Cambridge, and it has really given me a feel for the early development of the university. You don't have to read the series in order, which is a good thing as the books rarely appear on the library shelves and largely have to be reserved.

Historically, all the books I've read in the series seem to have a good degree of accuracy about life, medicine and politics. T
Wayne Farmer
This series is starting to hit its stride and this story had me gripped from the beginning. The characters have started to come alive and the friendship of Matthew and Michael is one of the things that keeps the book going. As usual the historical side of things is well researched and its interesting to see how such chaotic unrest could be caused for what to us seem like the silliest of things. What i really enjoyed this time was the small injection of humour into the book with Matthew totally ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Donna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Brother Cadfael fans
Read again 03/28/14 for Maze mystery group.

I didn't remember much, if anything, of this story. All of the Matthew Bartholomew books have really complex puzzles which are not easy to solve. There wasn't too much in this one that included "fair play" clues to help you try to deduce the solution. As before, the history was great and, from my researches, quite accurate.

There were parts of this book which seemed quite tedious, but like all good detectives, Matthew takes some time getting all the clue
Aug 16, 2010 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 50-in-2010
Excellent! I had read another series of books by this same author, and was rather dejected to find out there weren't any others...until I realized the author was using a pseudonym and that Susanna Gregory was indeed Simon Beaufort (real name Elizabeth Cruwys). And this book didn't disappoint. You do, however, risk losing some sleep if you're anything like me because I just couldn't put it down until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.
Feb 11, 2010 Scilla rated it liked it
This mid 14th century mystery takes place in Cambridge, England. There is an aspect of town versus gown, with additional prejudice for the Scots. The main characters are Mathew Bartholomew, a doctor, and Brother Michael, Senior Proctor, both at Michaelhouse. The current problems seem to be related to the killing of Simon D'Ambrey 25 years previously. A Scotch student is murdered; then there are riots. The book was fairly fast moving and I enjoyed it, although it's not great literature.
Sandra Strange
The third in this excellent series, this novel pulls no punches. The author presents Medieval (1340's--just past the most famous black plague outbreak) Cambridge as it probably was: dirty, unhealthy, tense, violent, both town dwellers and scholars looking for scapegoats and relics to reestablish their broken world. The mystery is well told with lots of twists and adventure for the protagonist physician/professor to solve.
DH Hanni
Closer to 3.5 stars. Really enjoyed this. First time reading anything by Susanna Gregory and I thought this was an engaging story with really interesting characters. Whenever I read mysteries, I care less about the whodunit part and am more drawn to the characters investigating the crime as well as all the possible suspects. This definitely held my attention and I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.
Feb 01, 2014 Nicky rated it it was ok
I don't know why it took me so long to read this book - it was quite nicely written and pleasant to read. The characters ans historical setting were nicely depicted. It was just that the plot seemed a little 'forced' or 'contrived'and it didn't leave you with that feeling of satisfaction you usually get when the solution to the mystery is revealed. I would probably be happy to read another one (this was a gift)to see if I enjoyed that story any better.
Jun 09, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it
A bit slower that the first two books in the series but still a great read. I wish the ending wasn't so confusing, with all manner of people involved in the plot and all kinds of blackmailing, etc. It made things tedious to have it all so tangled. But otherwise, a really good book. I'm looking forward to the fourth.
Jan 30, 2016 Sars rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

My beef wasn't with the characters, the history, or the writing style. I may continue to read Gregory's books.

That this book was so weak was purely down to the plot. It was ridiculously convoluted and contrived. The explanations were highly implausible. When Matt and co uncover the dastardly doings, their rationale for how they figured it all out was paper thin.
Jan 07, 2008 Itsbecka rated it it was ok
I believe that this is the first book in the Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles. It's a medieval crime-fighting doctor, written by a real medieval historian so it's a little less fantasic that some of the other ones out there. I do really enjoy the characters - except the first book was a little hard to get through. The rest were good!
Michele Buono
Aug 14, 2012 Michele Buono rated it liked it
I like these books; they are very well-written, but I dread reading the last 50 pages. The murderer and accomplices will be found out, the heroes will be in danger,they'll escape only to be put into more danger before the law comes along to rescue them. And of course, the inevitable unraveling of the dastardly deeds explaining all the whys and wherefores of the crimes.
Annie Jones
Oct 25, 2013 Annie Jones rated it really liked it
I enjoy the historical background of this series. The plot thickened nicely and included surprises at the end. It was a bit slow in parts but that may have been because I read it in bits and starts when I found the time so I lost the thread occasionally and had to reread.
Jul 12, 2014 Roshni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. I have read the Thomas Chaloner series by Gregory and loved those, and the Bartholemew series is just as entertaining. Matt is a versatile main character and the mystery is delightfully complex. Loved it.
Philip Cook
Aug 31, 2015 Philip Cook rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
This is more like it. The humour shared between the two main characters is delightful. The plot is more believable and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And, because of these two characters, a fat benedictine and a dour physician, I will go on and read the rest of the stories, hopefully in order.
Aug 31, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Like the first two novels in the series, this is a fun read. A very intricate mystery, set against a background of a well-realized Medieval University. The attempts at humor made me smile, but not laugh. But that didn't mar my enjoyment of the novel.
Chris Porter
Jul 26, 2016 Chris Porter rated it it was ok
I didn't think this was as good as the previous 2 books, and thought it was over complicated for the story. Having said that, it was probably more that I couldn't really get into it, so not an entirely fair judgement.
Kathy Davie
Sep 01, 2010 Kathy Davie rated it it was ok
I do enjoy reading of the lifestyle of both town and gown and experiencing the medical knowledge. Gregory writes well and detailed, yet, her main character is driving me nuts. He's so oblivious for such an intelligent man.
Nov 05, 2013 Anietta rated it it was amazing
Probably one of my favourite novels from the Matthew Bartholomew chronicles. The mysteries are exquisitely crafted and woven together. Susanna Gregory has gifted the characters with rich and diverse personalities, they're a pleasure to discover and learn about.
Sep 20, 2010 Zorah rated it really liked it
I like the overview of the 1300's by Susanna Gregory. Fledgling Cambridge University, The challenge of life in the 1300's. Medicine vs Superstition. I find Susanna Gregory a little wordy but I'm definately a fan!
Sep 15, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
great read and i am growing to like the characters more and more as i read each story in this series. looking forward to the next one :)
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Susanna Gregory is the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cruwys, a Cambridge academic who was previously a coroner's officer. She writes detective fiction, and is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridge.

AKA Simon Beaufort

She writes detective fiction, and is noted for her series of mediaeval mysterie
More about Susanna Gregory...

Other Books in the Series

Matthew Bartholomew (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • A Plague on Both Your Houses (Matthew Bartholomew, #1)
  • An Unholy Alliance (Matthew Bartholomew, #2)
  • A Deadly Brew (Matthew Bartholomew, #4)
  • A Wicked Deed (Matthew Bartholomew, #5)
  • A Masterly Murder (Matthew Bartholomew, #6)
  • An Order for Death (Matthew Bartholomew, #7)
  • A Summer of Discontent (Matthew Bartholomew, #8)
  • A Killer in Winter (Matthew Bartholomew, #9)
  • The Hand of Justice (Matthew Bartholomew, #10)
  • The Mark of a Murderer (Matthew Bartholomew, #11)

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