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Summary

In Cambridge a child has been hideously murdered and other children have disappeared. The Jews, made scapegoats by the all-powerful Christian clergy, have been forced to retreat into the castle to avoid slaughter by angry townspeople. Henry, King of England, is displeased. The Jews provide a large part of his revenue and therefore the real killer must be found, and quickly. A renowned investigator, Simon of Naples, is recruited and he arrives in town from the continent accompanied by an Arab and a young woman, Adelia Aguilar. There are few female doctors in twelfth century Europe, but Adelia is one of them, having qualified at the great School of Medicine in Salerno. What’s more, her speciality is the study of corpses; she is, in fact, a mistress of the art of death, a skill that must be concealed in case she’s accused of witchcraft.

Adelia’s investigation takes her deep into Cambridge, its castle and convents and in a medieval city teeming with life, Adelia makes friends and even finds romance. And, fatally, the attention of a murderer who is prepared to kill again…

©2007 Ariana Franklin (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Mystery

A rivetting and clever mystery read quite beautifully. One of the best historic murders I have come across. Looking forward to hearing the others in the series.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Caroline
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 19-11-14

Superb!

Would you listen to The Mistress of the Art of Death again? Why?

Mistress of the Art of Death had a great plot with plenty of twists, turns and historical details. I loved the main character, Adelia and the relationships she developed with the people of Cambridgeshire. It kept me up late at night to finish it and I have just downloaded Book 2.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully read with a story rich with imagery.

I felt I was there . I. loved it , especially the heroine Adelia Aguilar.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • liz
  • Bury, United Kingdom
  • 04-12-15

Middle Ages Scarpetta

What did you like most about The Mistress of the Art of Death?

I thought the story was good. It flowed and the suspense continued until the conclusion.
There were moments of humour, tension, despair all woven expertly into the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mistress of the Art of Death?

The panic when the last child disappeared.

What does Diana Bishop bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Her voice suited the story, especially with a strong female character.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me laugh and cry in parts and I enjoyed the mix of emotions.

Any additional comments?

I have the next in the series ready to read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • NEWMARKET, United Kingdom
  • 08-04-13

Excellent Historical Mystery

This book first attracted my attention because I live in Cambridge. It is a well-researched piece which conveys a strong sense of setting but still engages the reader with a modernly conceived mystery. The characters are wonderful and I loved the way actual historical events are integrated into the plot even if the author had to fiddle a bit in order to make the story work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story spoilt by wooden, one paced audio

If you could sum up The Mistress of the Art of Death in three words, what would they be?

Rivetting, inaccurate, engaging,

What did you like best about this story?

Great plot. Interesting characters.

What didn’t you like about Diana Bishop’s performance?

One paced, wooden speak your weight like performance. Simply awful. I have read the book (some time ago) and was looking forward to the audio version. The audio subtracted value.

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

No

Any additional comments?

I suppose that Diana Bishop has been paid and it is too late to get someone else?!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable - got better as it went along

Would you listen to The Mistress of the Art of Death again? Why?

No - I don't usually reread books

What other book might you compare The Mistress of the Art of Death to, and why?

None

Which character – as performed by Diana Bishop – was your favourite?

The heroine

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

The love scene

Any additional comments?

I look forward to reading the next in the trilogy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • 17-01-18

Beautifully written

What made the experience of listening to The Mistress of the Art of Death the most enjoyable?

I loved the language and descriptive techniques. I felt I understood a great sense of life in the 12th century. The main character, probably one of the very first phorensic scientists and coroner, is unusually a woman.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Difficult to say, and too obvious to say the main heroine, however, she is portrayed to be terribly sensible and intelligent. Also, the young boy, Alf.

Any additional comments?

I loved the narrator's style. At times, because she did not always change accents or her voice very much, it was difficult for me to distinguish who was speaking in dialogue. However, her voice is soothing and her diction impressive.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • susanna
  • OKEHAMPTON, United Kingdom
  • 11-01-18

Very hard to tell!

I think I would really enjoy this story, but the narration is the worst I've ever heard on an Audible book!!! The narrator speaks more quickly than I've ever heard anyone speak, especially when they should be offering a narration to listeners. It was like putting a 33 rpm record on at 78 rpm.....unreal. It completely ran the sentences together and I've lost the will even to continue listening to what I think is actually an interesting story. I'm really sorry this narrator is doing others in the series. I'll get the book instead.