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Cambridge 1354. Christmas approaches and the town is gripped by the worst blizzards in living memory. As the physician, Matthew Bartholomew, struggles to help the poorer citizens cope with freezing temperatures, his colleagues prepare for the festivities. The weather has trapped many travellers in the town, including Matthew's erstwhile love, Philippa. She and her wealthy husband are invited to Michaelhouse for the main feast, and Matthew is horrified that he does not immediately recognise the over-weight, sulky woman who once stole his heart. In some ways he is relieved to accept Brother Michael's orders to identify a man found dead, apparently from exposure, in a nearby church, but the success of his mission brings him closer to Philippa's circle, for the man was her husband's servant. And then the husband himself is dead, victim of an accident on the treacherous ice of the fens - or was it a more sinister death, somehow linked to the death of one of his business rivals months earlier in London? Susanna Gregory again brings medieval Cambridge to rich and vibrant life in a beautifully crafted mystery.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780751533415
ISBN-10: 0751533416
Format: Paperback
(177mm x 108mm x 31mm)
Pages: 496
Imprint: Sphere
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 3-Jun-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions


UK Kirkus Review » In this enjoyable detective novel, Susanna Gregory takes us back to England in the 14th century, and the embryonic University of Cambridge in the bleak East Anglian fens. In the 1300s most of the students lived, and studied, in hostels, where conditions were primitive and life hard. The colleges we know today were only slowly being founded. Michaelhouse, where the novels are set, first opened its doors in 1324. It was here, in the first of the series, A Plague On All Your Houses, that readers initially met Matthew Bartholomew, physician and Master of Medicine, and his friend the burly Benedictine Brother Michael, Senior University Proctor responsible for law and order in the University. As the Christmas of 1354 approaches and plans are laid for the traditional festivities the weather grows colder, the snow starts and ice chokes the flour mills, causing the price of food to spiral and life generally to become even more uncomfortable than usual. The students are still determined to make the most of the festive season, but then, in quick succession, three people die - and not from natural causes. One is stabbed in the back, another, dressed in rags, is found hidden behind a row of mouldering robes in a local church, and the third falls through the ice on the river in suspicious circumstances. He, as it happens, is the husband of Bartholomew's former betrothed, Philippa, for whom wealth had proved more attractive than Bartholomew's charms. As so often proves to be the case, the three deaths are much more involved than first appears, and Bartholomew and Brother Michael find themselves once more entangled in a widespread conspiracy. The central mystery is always what intrigues the reader at first but it is the background, the characters and the expert knowledge of the author that catch the imagination and make the story memorable. (Kirkus UK)

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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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