Mystery In The Minster: The Seventeenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew

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It is a male dominated book, which reflects the time period, but often the female characters have far more clue than the hapless Matthew and Michael. It is a good example of the series so far, with many threatened riots and local skirmishes as a result of a fatal illness which seems to afflict the rich and leave the poor unaffected.

Brother Michael is still overindulging, while being the only person who can suppress the simmering town. It is a funny book, but it is essentially a murder mystery in a well established context. Husband has enjoyed various books in the series, and would recommend them too.

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This book has only just come out in hard back, but the other twenty are to be found in various places, and in audio form. Give one or twenty! I find her other series a bit tougher - I think that the Thomas Chaloner books are a little stronger and more like C. Not that they are less well written at all, but somehow much more grim. I usually wait for each of these books to go paperback and then buy them to read. I did see this one in hardback in my wonderful local library, so I thought that I would read it now then look for a cheap copy at some time to complete my set.

This book sees Matthew, Michael and assorted others travel from medieval Cambridge to York in search of an inheritance promised to the College. There is soon murder done, but not before we encounter some mincing priests with a shoe fetish, Sex in the medieval City? Fans of Dorothy Sayers will recognise the sense of impending doom as a flood threatens to overwhelm the city, obscure any clues and threaten the righteous and the downright murderous alike.

Although set in a different place from most of the series, like the episode set in Lincoln this is a faithful representation of a city and buildings that survive until today. I enjoyed this book.

Mystery in the Minster - Historical Novel Society

I know know the characters well enough that I know what to expect, although I am sure that if you had not read any of the earlier books you would still enjoy this one. There are a lot of names to remember, and a little technical stuff about churches, prayers for the dead and wills.

It is the sort of book that you can coast along on the general flow, without worrying about every detail. In short, if you like historical murder mysteries this is great. If you are addicted to Susanna Gregory books as I am, this is a really good episode in the ongoing series. You may have noticed from this blog that I am quite fond of reading series of books. I suppose there is a form of security in reading about familiar characters, often in familiar contexts.


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Anyone who knows the smallest thing about the Harry Potter series will soon realise that Hogwarts School is a character in its own right, and that the setting is part of the charm of the books. I suppose it rather goes to the main point of why we read what we read. Or are we happier to read new things, new authors in search of new ideas, characters and situations? What can anyone say about this book.

Murder in the Minster

The readers did grow up with this series; this book is a basically simple tale for children, with goodies and baddies, clearly drawn characters, carefully explained events. It does start the whole ball rolling, sets off lots of trails, and establishes the series brilliantly.


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I am half way through The Chamber of Secrets. It does move the story on, and does have the wonderful Gilderoy Lockhart. Perhaps I could have spent the time reading a new book, but one of the joys of reading this series is spotting things that you missed in the rush to discover what happened, especially as the films either stuck closely to the books, or were forced to leave out large chunks.

At least we have many copies of these books…. The other series is nowhere near as well known, but a lot more adult.

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The Killer of Pilgrims is quite simply, brilliant. It is firmly set in Cambridge, features bitterly held grudges, clever tricks, the hapless Mathew being chased by a romantically inclined female and many murders. The beginning emphasises the importance in the fourteenth century of pilgrims badges to show that someone has made a challenging journey. This book also describes campball games, huge, dangerous ball games featuring large teams set on getting the ball at whatever the cost, including physical damage.

It was hardly seemly for an Archbishop of York to indulge in warfare, though, and he regretted his part in the slaughter now, just as he regretted some of the other things he had done in the name of political expediency. He was particularly sorry for some of the exploits undertaken by two of his henchmen, although he knew they had been necessary to ensure the smooth running of his diocese. But would God see it that way, or would He point out that the same end could have been achieved more honestly or gently?

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Opening his eyes, Zouche saw his bedchamber was full of people — officials from his minster, representatives from the Crown, chaplains, town worthies, members of his family and servants — all waiting for the old order to finish so they could turn their attention to the new. He was simultaneously saddened and gratified to see a number in tears.

For all his faults, he was popular, and many were friends as well as colleagues, kin and subordinates.

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His gaze lit on his henchmen — clever Myton the merchant, weeping openly and not caring who saw his grief, and dear, devoted Langelee, keeping his emotions in check by staring fixedly at the ceiling. In the fledging college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge is in need of extra funds.


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A legacy from the Archbishop of York of a parish close to that city promises a welcome source of income. However, there has been another claim to its ownership and it seems the only way to settle the dispute is for a deputation from Michaelhouse to travel north. Matthew Bartholomew is among the small party which arrives in the bustling city, where the increasing wealth of the merchants is unsettling the established order, and where a French invasion is an ever-present threat to its port.