LJ's Reviews > A Deadly Brew

A Deadly Brew by Susanna Gregory
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Sep 03, 08

bookshelves: 1300s, europe, england, female_author, historical, middle_ages_5th_cent-1558, mystery
Read in August, 2008

A DEADLY BREW (Hist. Mys-Matthew Bartholomew-England-1353) – VG
Gregory, Susanna – 4th in series
Little, Brown and Company, UK Hardcover, 1998 – ISBN: 0316640573

First Sentence: The afternoon had been growing gradually darker as storm clouds massed overhead.

It’s the winter of 1353, the plague is recently past but a worry and with the formal rains physician Matthew Barthomew is concerned about the spread of fever. That fear is over shadowed by the sudden and violent deaths by poisoning of three people. He traces the poison to wine and smuggling operations that must be stopped before more people die, including Matthew.

Matthew Bartholomew has become one of my favorite characters. Trained by Arabs, his methods may raise eyebrows but they are effective.

The dialogue, particularly between Matthew and his friend Michael, is sharp and has an element to wry humor. Michael is a little darker in this fourth book. He is still Mathew’s friend, but he has his own agenda as well.

Gregory creates such a strong sense of time and place. You can feel the cold, wet, mud outside and mustiness inside and contrasts that with the warmth and comfort of the convent at Denny. You also see the contrasts and conflicts between the religion and science, the University and the town, the wealthy and the poor.

The mystery is more involved than you first think with many layers, twists and some very good suspense. I am anxious to read more of the series.
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