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Summary

In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswald Stanmore. Aware that his son has no interest in the cloth trade that made his fortune and reputation, Oswald has left the business to his widow, but a spate of burglaries in the town distracts Matthew from supporting Edith in her grief and attempting to keep the peace between her and her wayward son.

As well as the theft of irreplaceable items from Michaelhouse, which threatens its very survival, a new foundation, Winwick Hall, is causing consternation amongst Matthew's colleagues. The founder is an impatient man determined that his name will grace the University's most prestigious college. He has used his wealth to rush the construction of the hall, and his appointed Fellows have infiltrated the charitable Guild founded by Stanmore, in order to gain the support of Cambridge's most influential citizens on Winwick's behalf.

A perfect storm between the older establishments and the brash newcomers is brewing when the murder of a leading member of the Guild is soon followed by the death of one of Winwick's senior Fellows. Assisting Brother Michael in investigating these fatalities leads Matthew into a web of suspicion, where conspiracy theories are rife but facts are scarce and where the pressure from the problems of his college and his family sets him on a path that could endanger his own future....

©2014 Susanna Gregory (P)2014 Soundings

What members say

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Continuing Audio Problems with this Series

I love David Thorpe's narration of these books and I love the way Susanna Gregory injects humor into them, they do literally a make me guffaw out loud but SO many of these books have audio problems - I have literally returned about six of them for this reason.

Either the audio skips mid sentence, or there are repeats, or the audio is very quiet and then suddenly very loud or muffled, it is a nonsense, and I have no idea why this isn't resolved as they are such popular books. They should sack the editor or production editor, whoever is responsible for checking them before the release them, it is so disappointing.

I struggle on because I love the books and also because Audible allows me to return the ones which you cannot listen to, but it really is a joke.

I also don't like the fact that, half way through the series, David Thorpe change all the characters voices. Cymric, the Welsh book bearer, who is Welsh in most of them, suddenly becomes English, Brother Michael (whose 'normal' voice I adore), becomes deep and throaty in some volumes which sounds odd when you're used to his more fey voice. I have discovered that the ones released in 2017 all seem to have the normal voices, and the earlier ones (not based on book publication but based on the audio release, the 2014 ones, tend to have different voices and accents, and this is not necessarily chronological in the series, so now I check in advance to see which year the audio was released as I got seriously muddled when he changed all the voices (Mind you, I AM easy to confuse).

But PLEASE sort out the audio problems and PLEASE also publish the rest of these books.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very Disappointed

The narration was very poor by David Thorpe, Andrew Wingate is far better narrating Susanna Gregory/Bartholomew books.
I was very disappointed and will be returning this book to Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very lazy delivery

What would have made Death of a Scholar better?

The content was fine, the delivery was lazy and clearly lacking in any kind of preparatory work

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator taking the time to do some prep ie understanding the characters and using an appropriate voice

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The book was fine, the narration was appalling and if the same narrator is used for further books in the series, I will not be buying them!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story but terrible delivery

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No,unfortunately you have chosen the wrong person to read the book which is a great shame as I love Susanna Gregory's books and the story is good.

What other book might you compare Death of a Scholar to, and why?

Susanna Gregory writes with the historical accuracy of CJ Sansom and Michael Jecks but there is more humour in her books.

Would you be willing to try another one of David Thorpe’s performances?

Categorically NO

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

They aren't really those sort of books.

Any additional comments?

Please find another reader - the person who read the Piccadilly Plot and Death in St. James Park is so much better.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Voices

What happened to the voices? David Thorpe takes a one book hiatus and the voices of most of the main characters and supporting characters change. The worst of which is cynric starts out as a squeaky voice then gets gruffer as the reading goes on and isn't Welsh at all. After listening to the series for so long it's as shame the production company can't go back and make sure David Thorpe uses the same voices as he had done for about 16 books before.

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Voice change?

Confused why Cinrik no longer sounds Welsh and Michael’s voice is much deeper.... also Clippsby’s voice was not right either.... very confusing.

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Strange changes

Love these books but the narrator ( who to my knowledge has done at least 15 of the books) changing the voices of many of the characters nearly ruined the book for me! Especially the Welsh book bearer not being Welsh any more !!

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didnt enjoy this one.

Thought plot line dull and really disappointing with narrator. I normally love him but he for some inexplicable reason changed the familiar voices of main characters which were horrid and in the case of Cinrick he went from welsh to cockney???? which was ridiculous

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What happened to Cynric?

I love these stories and this was no exception. They are well written and generally well read but Cynric is a self confident and true Welshman. He would never have developed an educated English voice. It would be a matter of pride to him to keep his accent alive.

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I was warned!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I suppose it is inevitable, but I find these stories getting a bit same old..

Would you recommend Death of a Scholar to your friends? Why or why not?

Not particularly.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I read the other reviews about the narrator but got the book anyway. Big mistake. I could not bear some of the voices, they were so irritating. This narrator is not a patch on the narrator of the previous books whose voice was very soothing but you knew which character was speaking. This narrator's voice is extremely jarring. I would not listen to another book read by him.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

I probably would.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Opinion8d
  • 02-03-18

good. historical mystery in English monasteries

I love the series. It's been awhile but I believe the detective is a hunchback and a Catholic in the days of Cromwell. Can you tell I learned a lot? that's my brain, no reflection on the books.

I read the whole series and can't recall the specifics of this one.

narrator was good and fit the book.

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  • Ali M. Fitzgerald
  • 31-03-16

My only issue is that there aren't more of these..

Susanna Gregory is the only mystery writer who has had me simultaneously trying to suss out the bad guy while trying not to pee my pants with laughter. I don't think anyone but David Thorpe could narrate Gregory's books in quite the way he does, but his deep, slightly haughty resonance lends itself as much to intrigue as to hilarity, and at this point I only have to see the name of the author and narrator together on an audio file to lay down the cash, only there are precious few from which to choose. Pity. Get on that, Audible!! Anyway, if you like mysteries and anything medieval, get this book. Get them all, there isn't a bad one in the Matthew Bartholomew series. I particularly like how Gregory offhandedly describes what a item of clothing or food item is in the context of the time without being all education-y about it - she just says "this is what they did/ate/wore back then," gives a brief description that doesn't get in the way of the story, and gets on with it. After the book is over is when the reader (listener) learns the depth of research Gregory actually does in the weaving of her tales - many of the characters and situations in her books were real with the documentation to prove it, but have been fictionalized for maximum intrigue and entertainment. And intriguing they are. While her stories are set in medieval days, we see that human nature itself has changed very, very little since then: we are still ridiculous, hilarious, utterly foolish, and damn lucky. Many of the foibles and shenanigans that are described in this book (with hilarious detail) could just as easily have happened last week as six hundred years ago. Get this book - you'll love it. There is mystery, shenanigans, and plenty of finger-poking fun. You won't regret it.