Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin.  In this first episode of CSI: Medieval, a serial killer is taking the lives of the children of Cambridge and the superstitious townspeople have responded by rioting against the Jews, forcing them to seek shelter in the sheriff’s castle.  King Henry II is losing tax revenue as a result of this incarceration and demands a solution be found.  As a result, the King of Sicily sends Simon of Naples as lead investigator along with Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, a female forensic doctor from the medical school at Salerno.  Although I do question a couple of plot points, the subsequent cat-and-mouse battle between the criminal and pursuers is quite good with both sides claiming small victories along the way before the inevitable conclusion.

Franklin does an admirable job of setting the Cambridge scene in the twelfth century and her supporting characters, both noble and common, are well-developed.  The title character of Adelia is especially interesting.  A specialist used to working in solitude with the dead and respected for her intelligence and ability as a doctor, she is thrust into a male-centered environment where she must hide her abilities or face accusations of witchcraft.  Overall, this is an excellent debut mystery and I have already requested the second story, The Serpent’s Tale, in which the king once again calls upon Adelia’s expertise in solving another murder.


1 Response to “Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin”

  1. 1 The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin « The unset alarm clock Trackback on February 20, 2008 at 11:15 am

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