This is a fantastic medieval mystery and a glorious introduction to the Matthew Bartholomew series. I've read them all now, and they really should be read in sequence, so if you are considering reading these chronicles, this is the best place to start. One of the best things about this book, and in fact the whole series, is that they are wonderfully atmospheric - so much so that you can actually feel yourself transported to medieval Cambridge. The characters are well-defined and the story provides some real surprises - all necessary for a good murder mystery. The temptation is, of course, to compare this series with the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. Having read both, I would say that Susanna Gregory's are superior in every way. In particular, they are less formulaic than Cadfael and in my opinion, readers are therefore less likely to become bored with the Matthew Bartholomew series.