Irene's Reviews > Mistress of the Art of Death

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
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Oct 16, 2011

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CSI 12th Century Cambridge could be the alternative title of this book. A young, brilliant, polyglot forensic coroner is sent by the King of Naples to Cambridge to assist King Henry identify the individuals abducting, torturing and killing young children. Despite being hampered by the superstitious ignorance of the common people, the selfish ignorance of the institutional Catholic Church, the prejudices against women and the danger of the killer, Adelia is successful. This was an interesting piece of historical fiction. But, it left me wondering how much of the cultural elements were rooted in solid research and which were fabricated to advance the story. The 8 year old grandson of the Cambridge housekeeper possessed deductive skills that would make the entire team of Criminal Minds drool with envy. English diet, hygiene, religious practices and even recreation are portrayed as inexcusably base, especially in comparison to life in Cecily. Franklin writes an engaging murder mystery that weaves in historical artifacts in an entertaining fashion which does not hamper the flow of the story.
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Tonya I agree with your review and often wondered about some of the same things in regards to historical accuracy. However, I did enjoy it enough to read the second book in this series, The Serpent's Tale. There is a couple more books in the series after that and will eventually get around to reading them as well. I recently read that the author passed away, and was sad that what she has written will be all that there is. I think the books are definatly worth reading as pure entertainment and as long as you don't worry to much on complete historical accuracy.

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