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on 14 May 2017
Generally I like these books and have read the first 6 now. I like the main characters of Matthew the long suffering physician and Michael his, arrogant and bossy friend and frankly, in fact I think I read the books more for their interaction than anything else. If you are interested in the murder mystery elements more than character interaction you will likely sometimes find those elements unrealistically convoluted and the plotting of these and the politics of the colleges varies greatly in quality. This book ends with a ridiculously casual voting in of the next Master, the new master being Ralph Langalee who is yet another unbelievable person. He is voted inby people like father William who have good reason to patently dislike the man. Honestly after just getting rid of a bully and a beast of a master they vote in someone almost as bad and moreover a man who is too dim to be a scholar never mind a master!? It us so unlikely it's annoying.
Sometimes in these books the 'bad guys' have an incredible number of helpers who commit the most dreadful crimes on their behalf when these helpers have little motivation to do so and have no prior history of either violence or crime and are otherwise sane and decent. When these plot elements appear they are just fanciful nonsense and frankly annoying. The author has used that plot element too often after only 6 books, I hope she had the sense to not use it again but I doubt I'm that lucky.
The books are full of errors too, the last one had Matt stating that Job not Jonah was swallowed by a whale and in this book he says Lincoln is not a big town, when at the time, even at after the plague Lincoln's population was larger than that of Cambridge by upwards of a thousand people which made both it and Cambridge medium sized towns for the time. The reader sometimes get frustrated at how slow Matt and Michael are at spotting the obvious and although I like many of the regular supporting players I cannot believe they would d behave as they do in these books. Edith, Matt's much older sister is totally unbelievable. I am 12 years older than my younger brother and due to my mother's health problems I virtually raised him. There is no way that I, or any sensible woman which Edith is otherwise portrayed as, would encourage her brother to befriend one of the towns most well known prostitutes. Matilde, the suddenly non practicing prostitute, is another unbelievable character. Presumably she did not set herself up in such a risky profession because she had other means to support herself and yet for the last two books she has suddenly found a way not to maintain her comforts with out indulging in solicitation. I would like her if she was not so unbelievable and frankly she's far too nice for a character we already know mixes with criminal types like some of her past clients and the sad truth is most prostitutes wanted rid of babies Regularly, as they interfered with business and they would be more likely to bankroll a safer method of abortion than a safer method of birth. The tart with a heart character is very much overused in detective novels and the idea that a man as fastidious as Matt would be so greatly attracted to Matilde (even taking in account her looks) us not high. She might be clean but how would he put out of his mind her less fastidious clients and all the diseases she has potentially been exposed to 3 This is almost as unlikely as his respectable, protective older sister encouraging a friendship that would make Matt less appealing to respectable women like herself and might lead to an ill advised marriage which would see her potential nieces and nephews being mocked as other children called their mother nasty names.
If you can forgive far fetched characters, the odd inaccuracies and over convoluted plotting you are sometimes amused, occasionally surprised and now and then very pleased.
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on 5 May 2017
The plot, is as usual very convoluted, making it interesting reading. People did not wash but were interested in cleanliness. They rubbed themselves with linen to clean their bodies. Bad smells were associated with poor health by rich and poor. The constant harping on the lack of awareness of this is inaccurate.
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on 10 July 2014
love this series of books this one did not dissapoint
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on 3 July 2017
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on 12 August 2001
A Masterly Murder is another Masterly Novel from Susanna Gregory. The retirement of the Master throws Bartholomew's life into turmoil but not as much as his sister's attempts to marry him off. But never fear, Brother Michael is there to help (and hinder him) and if he fails there is always Mathilde the prostitute to offer advice. As with the other Bathomolew books, the pace is non-relenting with constant but never predictable plot twists. But the real stars of this series are the characters. Sharply portrayed, they engage your sympathy or your anger. The whole series is highly recommended. But read them in order. This book is better understood as the sixth in the series.
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on 28 January 2006
This is the sixt in the series and the sixth I've read in a row, and they keep getting better all the time! All the old familiar characters are back in fine form (Father William with some very funny passages, I did miss Cynric a bit though).
The more you get to know these people (and as real people they do feel) the more you start to like them regardless of all their flaws, possibly even because of them. Of course, as in the previous five novels, there's crime and murder galore for Michael to dig into and Matthew to be dragged into.
I'll be very sorry when I get to the end of the last novel in this series!
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on 9 June 2013
If you enjoy a good murder mystery with some ingenious twists and turns this book is for you. Set in the University of 14th Century Cambridge, the murders and mayhem will keep you reading to the very end. Susanna Gregory's research gives the ring of truth to her writing and the well formed characters are totally believable. The only slight disappointment is that like so many Kindle versions there are many typographical errors, words inserted that shouldn't be there and others missing. This is why I've only given 4 stars to a 5 star story; my apologies to Ms Gregory.
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2010
I enjoyed this when I first read it, but have recently re-read the novel I enjoyed it even more this time around. I think Susanna Gregory deserves greater recongnition for her writing skills. The dialogue between the characters is excellent, as are the characters themselves.

In this installment, a new master is elected and he sets about knocking Michaelhouse into the institution he thinks it should be. Long serving fellows are summarily dismissed and for those remaining, they are ruled with a rod of iron. Matthews tenure is threatened and only Brother Michael with his religious and political connections seems immune to the new masters rule.
Just when Bartholomew is seriously considering resigning, the new master is murdered and suspicion falls on the fellows who had conflict with the loathed Runham, including Matthew...
Brilliant read and a wonderfully unexpected ending from one of the UK's foremost medieval crime writers.
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on 27 December 2012
Another fascinating and riveting read. Having read all previous novels in this series I was glad to find that this episode has lost non of the suspense and intrigue contained in the others. After the events in Suffolk (previous novel No. 5)I was glad to see the return to Cambridge and to the politics and mayhem of University life during medieval times. With any mystery novel it is always possible that the reader may 'lose the thread' but not so in these. There are always little 'recaps' of the investigations, by Bartholomew and Michael,as to who is and who is not a suspect and why. It certainly helps me as I can be susceptible to missing the odd salient point here and there!
Did I like it? You bet! I certainly wasn't prepared for some of the twists and turns as the tale unfolded. I'm in the process of firing up the Kindle to get on with episode 7!
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on 20 May 2013
Matthew has to contend with an election for a new Master of the college, more murders and dodgy building work.

Enjoyable but rather long-winded. The atmosphere is good and the sense of a town always on the edge of violence is conveyed well. The why and how aspect of the mystery was tangled as usual. However, the identity of whodunnit was all too obvious to me. After six adventures it gets a little frustrating that Matthew and his colleagues don't seem to have learned from their past experiences in detection. Some instances, it felt that they made almost impossible links in events - while other more obvious clues were ignored or not understood.

So, a good entry overall, good characterisation - especially from the minor players.
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