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In the tradition of Ellis Peters, A Plague on Both Your Houses introduces the physician Matthew Bartholomew, whose unorthodox but effective treatment of his patients frequently draws accusations of heresy from his more traditional colleagues. Besides his practice, Bartholomew is teacher of Medicine at Michaelhouse, part of the fledgling University of Cambridge. In 1348, the inhabitants of Cambridge live under the shadow of a terrible pestilence that has ravaged Europe and is travelling relentlessly eastward towards England. Bartholomew, however, is distracted by the sudden and inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse - a death the University authorities do not want investigated. When three more scholars die in mysterious circumstances, Bartholomew defies the University and begins his own enquiry. His pursuit for the truth leads him into a complex tangle of lies and intrigue that causes him to question the innocence of his closest friends, and even his family. And then the Black Death finally arrives and Bartholomew is dragged deeper and deeper into a quagmire which threatens not only his life, but the continued existence of the University and the future of the town.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780751516951
ISBN-10: 0751516953
Format: Paperback
(157mm x 180mm x 27mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Sphere
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 4-Jul-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » It's Cambridge, England, in 1348. If the black plague doesn't get you, beware of the black gowns and the scheming, black-hearted academics wearing them. In his third outing, physician-teacher Matthew Bartholomew (A Bone of Contention, 1997, etc.) is once again in a fine mess. Bad things start happening with the alleged suicide of Sir John, the Master of Michaelhouse. It's a particularly gory suicide, too: death by entanglement in a waterwheel. And it has Matt wondering. After all, he was with Sir John only the night before, listening to the master's enthusiastic plans for the college's growth and development. And soon enough, Matt's skepticism proves warranted. There are plots, nasty ones, the aims of which the estimable Sir John was blocking. These seem at first to be centered in, of all places, that other great university. It's Oxford versus Cambridge, Matt's told, but in a contest deadlier than any that ever took place on the Thames. Only one great university can be allowed to survive. Or is all that just smokescreen? Is it just a wicked grab for money and power by envious men who see themselves as unfairly bypassed? Before Matt can get at the truth, he finds himself with a big-time medical emergency on his hands: suddenly, the Black Death strikes, felling close friends and enemies alike, and putting Matt at terrible risk. First-rate for the history, but there are so many plot lines, and so much tedious talk about them, that interesting characters eventually lose their vitality, and the 14th looms like a century and a half. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Susanna Gregory

Susanna Gregory was a police officer in Leeds before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental consultant during seventeen field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology. She is the creator of the Matthew Bartholomew series of mysteries set in medieval Cambridge and the Thomas Chaloner adventures in Restoration London, and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.

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