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Death of an Alchemist

(Bianca Goddard Mysteries #2)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  66 reviews
In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder. . . .

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum int
Paperback, 296 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Kensington Books
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Mary Lawrence
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Book 2 takes place about five months after The Alchemist's Daughter. There is more alchemy as Bianca seeks a noted alchemist for help making a remedy for an outbreak of the Sweating Sickness. Meddybemps, the storied streetseller, returns in a major role. We also meet Bianca's parents. I wrote Death of an Alchemist while dealing with the loss of two friends so there are plenty of questions about death and immortality for Bianca to wrestle with. It's a ride, it's a sting, it's a story about love a ...more
Jill Tool
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Bianca and John are back in the second book of Mary Lawrence’s series. If you haven’t read the first book, The Alchemist’s Daughter, I strongly encourage you to do so, but Death of an Alchemist, can stand on it’s own. The stories are set in the 1600’s of Tudor England. Of course they don’t have dna testing, or and FBI data base, so solving the whodunit is totally different then what is done today. However mysteries do get solved.
The author transports you back in time to where you can
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was a little nervous when I started reading this book because it is the second in a series and I've not read the first. Thankfully I didn't feel confused at all. There was enough exposition to keep you up to date on what happened in the first book without the writing being too "tell don't show" (which is a big pet peeve of mine).

I really enjoyed these characters. They were smart, sympathetic, and likable (or, unlikable, in some cases). There's nothing I hate more in mystery stories than weak,
Calvin Rinck
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After completing book 2, it's clear that Lawrence has taken the time to think through the nuances necessary to create a captivating mystery. Her attention to historical detail sets the stage for another enjoyable read. By further developing her cast of characters, this book has left me excited to find out what's next for Bianca. I find myself increasingly intrigued by the thought that this could make for an interesting television series on PBS. Well done. ...more
Pamela Shropshire
This is the second book in the Bianca Goddard series. Rumors are going around about the deadly “sweating sickness,” so Bianca is trying to concoct a medicinal to cure it. She consults with one of London’s best known alchemists, the elderly Ferris Stanum. Stanum helpfully advises Bianca on her process, then after several of his friends and acquaintances join them, he announces he has successfully created an elixir that grants immortality. As proof, he presents his cat, who was deathly ill but rec ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Actually, the title should have been “Deaths of Several Alchemists”, but that doesn’t have nearly the same ring to it, does it?

And the story really does center around one particular alchemist’s death, even though the ripples from that death take down one more alchemist, and nearly kill chemiste Bianca Goddard as well. Not to mention a very unlikeable landlady, an alchemist’s daughter (not Bianca, obviously), a ne’er do well husband and a poor unfortunate bi
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life and death in Tudor England

In this second book featuring Bianca Goddard, she is trying to develop medicinal that will help a those with sweating sickness. As she seeks the help of a revered alchemist, she once again finds herself investigating a murder. What I enjoy the most about these books is the world she has created with her words. It is dirty, bawdy, full of unknowns and I can see and hear the bard, William Shakespeare, in every word, charcters, and scenes found on these pages.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
3 1/2 Stars

There are some true brilliant moments in this novel but the habit of being too repetitive grinds my gears and takes a novel that should be a strong four to a three. Plot excellent, overall good writing, characters very well drawn and underlying otherworldly thread, reminiscent of Karen Maitland- all combine to make the novel very enjoyable. A rewrite with a trim of repetitions could vault this into the five star zone. And, with the practice of writing and publishing, I have faith this
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited when this came up as a blog tour because having read the first book in this series, ‘The Alchemist’s Daughter’, I definitely wanted more of Bianca and her story. Fortunately for you, if you just pick up this one, you won’t be totally lost. This is a good novel just on its own; the first book’s adventure is mentioned but you won’t feel lost if you don’t read it. (You should though; it’s really fantastic!)

The pacing in this book is spot on; it isn’t rushed and it’s not too slow ei
Warner Smith
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Death of an Alchemist is my initial introduction to author, Mary Lawrence. A novel featuring Bianca as the protagonist, a young woman living in London during Henry VIII's reign. Growing up as the daughter of an Alchemist, she has learned the arts and practices of healing herbs and alchemy.

Mary Lawrence does a wonderful job, bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of London; Bianca's world of discovery and danger! A woman of lower class and married to a man named John, an apprentice to a
Lorraine Montgomery
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Mary Lawrence has been writing for a long time but, until recently, has been unpublished. Death of an Alchemist is her second published novel featuring Bianca, a young lady (early 2os) living in the London of Henry VIII, who has picked up knowledge of healing herbs from her mother and some of the art of alchemy from her father, a disgraced alchemist since his falling out with that capricious king. The first ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Good mystery with great historical detail
Shelle Perry
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Death of An Alchemist by Mary Lawrence Death of an Alchemist (A Bianca Goddard Mystery)
2nd Book in Series Mystery – Women Sleuths Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2016) Paperback: 304 pages ISBN-13: 978-1617737121 E-Book ASIN: B00X2EOZRU
Book Links: Amazon Death of an Alchemist (A Bianca Goddard Mystery) / Goodreads / Barnes & Noble / Riffle / BookLikes


Alchemy conjures up for me the fantastic. Stories of dragons and knights or of wizards, ancient and contemporary. I had never given much
Nancy Goldberg Wilks
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I reviewed Mary Lawrence’s first book, The Alchemist’s Daughter, I stated that I looked forward to reading about more of Bianca Goddard’s adventures. Well, Bianca is back, and she does not disappoint. Lawrence’s second novel, Death Of An Alchemist, is even better than her first.

Death seems to follow Bianca. In Death Of An Alchemist, Bianca consults a well known alchemist, Ferris Stannum, seeking advice from him about an alchemical process that she needs in making some of her healing conc
Linda Stevens
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Death of an Alchemist transports the reader to London in the summer of 1643, a hot crowded place where presumed criminals are executed in public and their heads displayed for all to see. Most people live in poverty, squalor, and with the ever present threat of pestilence. A man has just died despite his physician’s efforts. The nature of his illness is unknown. It was not plague and not the sweating sickness. But what was it?

A couple of weeks later Ferris Stannum, an elderly alchemist who has ju
Shelle Perry
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alchemy conjures up for me the fantastic. Stories of dragons and knights or of wizards, ancient and contemporary. I had never given much thought to the idea that an alchemist may have been more than just a plot device in great fiction. The amount of detail about alchemy along with the science and spiritual standing of the time in question was staggering and added weight to the story beautifully.

I truly enjoyed reading “Death of an Alchemist” by Mary Lawrence. It is a book that is hard to place i
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bianca Goddard is back and is once again embroiled in discovering the cause of a friend’s death. Her new acquaintance, an alchemist named Ferris, has just announced his discovery of the Elixir of Life. But when he is found dead in his bed that same night, Bianca can’t help but be suspicious. When the journal containing Ferris’s formula disappears, Bianca is sure her mentor’s death is somehow attributed to his discovery. As Bianca navigates the sweltering streets of London, she encounters physici ...more
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
The Elixir of Immortality...

This was a solid follow-up to Lawrence's first book, The Alchemist's Daughter. She really transports you back to London in the 1600's with the old language and the descriptive setting which I enjoy. I also really like the characters especially Bianca and Meddybemps.
I would have liked for Bianca to have practiced more alchemy in this book though and to learn more in-depth about the ingredients and methods etc. she uses for her physickes and medicinals. I felt like tha
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A puzzling Tudor mystery.

A brilliant depiction of life and death in Henry's London.
Ferris Stannum has discovered the elixir of life. A secret many would kill for. And perhaps this is happening because alchemists are dying. A mysterious illness is affecting others and at the heart is Bianca Goddard who is searching for a way to distill her herbals using alchemists methods, in order to make her concoctions stronger and possibly more effective.
In Bianca's search she is privy to suspect happenings i
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley/publisher.

The second in a series about a young woman who scrapes out a living making medicines by combining her mother's skill as an herbalist and her father's alchemy. She also has the unfortunate habit of finding dead bodies, starting with a friend in the first book. It is referred to a lot in this one, but so far as I can tell it doesn't hamper your reading this book.

With sweating sickness possibly going around, Bianca is looking for a cure and
Mike Milligan
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Young Medieval Prodigy?

What an interesting book to read, The writer leads us through fast paced merry chase along a detailed story-line that appears to be a sort of cross between Ripper Street and brother cadfael, With a new, yet not understanding, husband to deal with, A young girl is trying to survive in a mans world doing a mans job, yet weilding a womans skill of doing 5 things at once, Moving throughout a medieval London, Shes trying to use new meditionals to save lives close to her, brin
A Holland Reads
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this second installment in this series. I like how the author includes so much history in her stories as well as the mystery which keeps you guessing. It was nice to read more about Bianca and see what she is up to now. In this book Bianca's husband John is very ill and she is trying to find a way to make him better while at the same time trying to solve the murder of another alchemist. While trying to find out who the murderer is Bianca finds herself at risk of being harmed. I thought ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bianca is the daughter of an alchemist who is becoming proficient in making healing medicants and salves. In order to further her knowledge, she seeks the assistance of Ferris Stannum, another alchemist. He agrees to help her, but when she arrives at his residence the following day, her new mentor has been found dead. When his death is soon followed by another, and then another, the deaths keep adding up. Who, or what, is causing all these deaths? Is it a new plague? Sweating sickness? Both are ...more
Kathy Jund
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being the daughter of an alchemist should come with a warning label! Prepare to have a missing parent as all focus will be directed to the craft and no time for you. Bianca Goddard returns in book two of Mary Lawrence's mystery series with Death of an Alchemist. A kindred spirit is found when Bianca ventures for advice from another alchemist to assist her with a process she is finding problematic in preparing a new physick, who also has a daughter. And as stands to reason, a suspected murder wil ...more
Shelley Giusti
Mary Lawrence is great at with she does, with the historical accuracy and a story well written you will feel like you have been swept away to 1643 London. Bianca is a strong character that can hold her own and she knows how to get things done. So when she finds out that Ferris has been killed and his journal is missing she needs to find out why. And on all nights when Ferris had discovered the Elixir of Life. She knows that they are somehow connected and will do all that she must to find out who ...more
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 is closer to the mark. A fascinating look at alchemy and 16th century London. A great mystery with deep philosophical questions which will leave the reader torn (in such a good way!) Thoroughly enjoyable characters, plot and descriptions. I found the pacing a little slow; the majority of the book is atmosphere it seems to me until an exhausting final 20%....but to be fair that may have been because I had to put this down to read another book in the middle. I am absolutely getting book 1 and ...more
Eileen Hall
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Set in the time of Henry VIII.
An alchemist discovers how to make the Elixir of Life, but before he can send the journal in which he wrote the formula to a collegue, he is killed and the journal stolen.
Bianca Goddard tends to the sick in the slums of London and when her husband falls dangerously hill she tries desperately to find the journal, but first she has to find the murderer of the man and subsequent others.
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Kensington Publishing via N
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lovely atmosphere, language, and ambiance. Bianca is a strong character (with some serious gumption), and the dialogue is consistent and believable throughout. She made some surprising decisions, and I'd like to see what she will do in the next book. This is a new author for me, and I'm happy I found Mary Lawrence. A great story that will leave you thinking about a few issues long after the final page. ...more
Andrea Jones
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A suspenseful follow up to "The Alchemist's Daughter." I highly recommend this book, not only to mystery enthusiasts, but to historical fiction readers. Bianca with her intelligence and heart is a notch above the usual historical fiction heroine, and the setting of Tudor London is superb -- even in its historical squalor. Mary Lawrence uses language that fits the time, entertains, and makes me pause to enjoy its elegance. I look forward to book 3 of the Bianca Goddard mystery series. ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mary Lawerence's book, Death of an Alchemist, is well written story that had me falling in love with the characters with each page I turned. Taking me to a world I where I have no knowledge I was instantly caught up in the history of emerging science and the heroine Bianca who resembles our modern day CSI. Hard to put down and left me wanting more. Thanks to Kensington Books and Netgally for giving me the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest reveiew. ...more
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See similar books…
The Bianca Goddard Mysteries are set in Tudor London during the final years of King Henry VIII's reign. Bianca is the daughter of an infamous alchemist who uses her 'wits' and sometimes alchemy to solve murders among the commoners. The series consists of (in order) THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER, DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST, and DEATH AT ST. VEDAST, and THE ALCHEMIST OF LOST SOULS. THE LOST BOYS OF LONDON rel ...more

Other books in the series

Bianca Goddard Mysteries (5 books)
  • The Alchemist's Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #1)
  • Death at St. Vedast (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #3)
  • The Alchemist of Lost Souls (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #4)
  • The Lost Boys of London (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #5)

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