Mistress Of The Art Of Death: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 1 Paperback – 3 Feb 2011
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"a vigorous evocation of medieval life in all its richness and squalor and an attention-grabbing thriller." (BBC History magazine)
"Franklin is one of the very best creators of medieval whodunnits writing today" (Guardian)
"Great fun! Franklin succeeds in vividly bringing the 12th century to life with this cracking good story" (KATE MOSSE)
"A morbidly entertaining novel that outdoes the competition" (New York Times)
"Exhilarating... I want to crown Ariana Franklin Queen of the Historical Mystery!" (TESS GERRITSEN)
Winner of the CWA Best Historical Crime Novel of the Year
Medieval England. A hideous murder. Enter the first female anatomist...
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Top Customer Reviews
Adelia, the main protagonist, is a fascinating but completely alien character to this early medieval environment in which she has been placed. However, if you are prepared to overlook the fact that Adelia's medical knowledge and social demeanour do not really belong in this period of time, you are in for a very absorbing read.
The book is certainly not for the fainthearted as the central plot involves the murder of children; at times described in quite graphic detail. If this is likely to cause upset or distress, then you should probably give this book a miss.
Fans of C. J. Sansom should enjoy this read as it's quite similar in style and genre. Adelia proves to be quite a likeable character once you get to know her and will probably become a firm favourite of many people to come.
If you are looking for a historical "Whodunnit" then look no further.
However.... Abandon all hope of historical veracity ye who enter here. There are the usual detail errors that irk me because I know my 12th century and further irk me because the author claims on her website that she is historically accurate. I think not! Mention of brandy and laudanum which were not available in that century - so therefore some of the scenes could never have happened. Three Angevin lions when there were only two until the early 1190's. Costume errors. Sometimes it was more like reading about Chaucer's Pilgrims than the Becket bunch. Images such as Henry II talking about his billiard table (conjures a hilarious image of Henry with his cue in hand leaning over a table in the smoky fug of a bar!) or having his head referred to as a cannon ball, yanked me straight out of the story. There are errors peppered throughout the novel both the large and the small, of detail and of mindset.
The heroine is a woman of 21st century sensibilities, who also acts like a 21st century TV forensic expert.Read more ›
The novel has a prologue and an epilogue and initially I found the voice of the prologue quite difficult, not just because of its omniscient narration but because it addresses the reader in a way I haven't seen in many recent novels. It felt quite 19th Century to me, and that's not a good thing to my taste. That said, the intrusive narrator soon disappears and the plot and characters gripped me rapidly.
The main character is fabulous. Yes, her views are quite modern (which may have irritated some other reviewers), but to me that's entirely consistent with a woman doing an uncharacteristic job and encountering prejudice on a regular basis. Or, more accurately, having to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the prejudice that could see her put to death as a witch!
As a crime novel, there is some unpleasant detail - this is a book about a child murderer, after all - but considerably less than many others I've read. The text also doesn't delve into the psychology of the murderer, which seems historically consistent to me. Psychoanalysis as an explanation for criminology is a pretty recent concept, after all.
On a personal level, having grown up in East Anglia, I really enjoyed the depiction of Cambridge: its atmospheric fenland and especially the local dialect, which was very effectively drawn and frequently made me smile in recognition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this book. Was given it by a friend and have just sent for the others in the series. An engrossing and enjoyable read.Published 3 days ago by vivienne
Just come across this series of books. Like a medieval version of Kathy Reichs or Kay Scarpetta. Loved all the characters and have already read the next one in the series.Published 7 months ago by Mrs. G. Hadfield
I loved this book! I really warmed to the Adelia character and was gripped throughout the novel. Would definitely recommend.Published 10 months ago by Arabella
For those who enjoy medieval intrigue and mystery, Ariana Franklin is indeed the mistress of her art. Read morePublished 13 months ago by James
This was the first book I read by the author, featuring Adelia. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the stile of 'Ariana Franklin', the mediaeval atmosphere that she creates, the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by N. C. Granby
I will say I am an avid reader of crime fiction of all sorts, and that historical crime fiction has a very special place in my heart. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Daniel M.