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5.0 out of 5 stars A Murder in Canterbury, 3 July 2008
This review is from: Saintly Murders (A medieval mystery featuring Kathryn Swinbrooke) (Hardcover)
C. L. Grace is a pseudonym for the author Paul Doherty, who also writes under several other pen names, Michael Clynes, Paul Harding etc. He has to be the most prolific author writing today and it mystifies me how he has had the time consuming position of head teacher at a school in the south of England and write such well researched books, for that is what they are. Whether he is writing about medieval England, Ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt he is more than adept at setting the scene accurately for the reader. However for me his always in his element when writing about the medieval period.

This set of novels feature the medieval physician Kathryn Swinbrooke and are good light reading. The idea of using a woman healer as the lead character sets them apart from many other books, and Kathryn is a likable and believable character. I say believable because at the period that the books were written history would have us believe that dabbling in medicine of any kind was tantamount to a woman admitting she was in league with the devil.

Kathryn has been recalled to Canterbury and is beleaguered by problems, not least whether her erstwhile and vindictive husband is still alive. Also the Archbishop requires her help in assessing whether a recently dead monk deserves to be made a saint, something that for his own reasons the Archbishop is none too keen on and last but not least for her to investigate why Canterbury should recently have had a plague of rats.

Business has been poor recently at the shrine of Thomas a Becket and the dwindling stream of pilgrims visiting the city has dropped to a trickle not only because of the rats but because of several pilgrims being poisoned not too long ago (see a Shrine of Murders). Because of this and other problems the cunning Archbishop does not want a new saint detracting from Becket's shrine and instructs Kathryn to do everything her persuasive nature can think of to stop this happening.

Kathryn's investigative skills soon lead her towards the fact that the monk did not die of natural causes by was in fact murdered and the hunt is soon on for the killer.

There is much to enjoy in these books not least the author's writing style, attention to detail and the backdrop of medieval Canterbury. Needless to say the author's research into the period he is writing about is second to none.
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