Customer Reviews for

Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death Series #1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic historical mystery

    In 1171 England, the Jews were given a haven under King Henry¿s rule, not because he liked them but they paid one seventh of the monies in the royal treasury. In the town of Cambridge, four children have disappeared and the body of only one has been found. A rumor begins that Jews killed the child. In retaliation a mob went on a killing spree, bodily tearing apart two Jews while the survivors take sanctuary in Cambridge Castle.----------------- In Sicily the king at the request of Henry II sends three people (Simon a Jew, Mansur a Muslim and the doctor of the dead Adelia Agutar) to England to find the killer. When they arrive the dead bodies of the three children are waiting for their analysis. Adelia knows that all the victims were killed by the same murderer. Adelia who misses her native Salerno finds a place for herself in England and during the course of her investigation she teams up with tax collector Sir Rowley to find the murderer but not before he kills someone dear to her who was closing in on him.------------------- Cross the forensic science of a Kay Scarpetta novel with the historical background of Judith Tarr book and the reader will have some idea of what the MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH is all about. Adelia is a great character, a female pioneer allowed to practice in the one country advanced enough to grant females that privilege. She is a plain speaker who seeks justice for the dead and has no tolerance for prejudice of any kind. She has more freedom than the average female in the Middle Ages and she knows how to use it to do what she wants. Readers will admire her and look forward to the next mystery starring this intrepid heroine.--------------- Harriet Klausner

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I have to say that this story grabbed me by the arm and dragged

    I have to say that this story grabbed me by the arm and dragged me in and would not let me go until the last page. And the author really did use Henry II as an effective character and an important object lesson. Ariana Franklin's delightful humor is present throughout the piece -- even in the story's most dire moment, when Adelia is bound and trapped within breathing range of Death itself. Her characters have complex backgrounds that shed light on their present relations and actions -- the Prior's relationship with the housekeeper he hires for Adelia, and King Henry II has his own personal motivation for summoning these foreign specialists. Interestingly, the backstory comes neatly into play in the end: swoopingly, when King Henry arrives to see to matters himself, and subtly, when Adelia's housekeeper secretly passes on her relationship and the prior to Adelia and her love. In Medieval Europe, a woman educated in the Art of Death in the famous school of medicine in Salerno, is sent to investigate a murder mystery. Accompanied by the renown mediator Simon of Naples and her eunuch manservant, Mansur, Adelia -- the Mistress of the Art of Death -- ventures into Cambridge to find the murderer. By chance, she arrives to find the Prior of the town ill -- unable to piss. Though she knows how to treat his infection, being a woman, she must perform the operation in secret to avoid charges of witchcraft. Thus, despite her formidable knowledge in forensic pathology, to the people of Cambridge, she must pose as an assistant to her manservant, who must pretend to be the doctor in charge. The writing is well done and perfect after a long day.   

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It's the year 1170 and Henry II is on the throne. The story is rippingly suspenseful and historically enlightening.

    The king who supported his Jewish inhabitants because he could always borrow from them, receives a plea from them to investigate the grisly murder of a young Jewish boy in Cambridge, England. Henry sends for experts from the famed medical school in Salerno, Italy. At the head of the team is a Jewish healer and expert on cadavers - and a woman (!) - whose teacher insists that she go in his place to help solve the murder. And so she does, in the company of Gordinus the African and Mordecai fil Berachyah, an intermediary. Adelia must use her wits because both as a Jew and as a woman she is forbidden to touch a man. Indeed, one of her first challenges on arriving in England is to perform an operation on a priest. All the characters - evil and good, women and men - are well drawn and interesting. Glimpses of everyday medieval village, religious, and family life counterbalance the dark events. Horrifying are the continuing murders of children and the awful details of their deaths. Strong evidence suggests that the murderer might be a former Knight Templar. Especially gripping (and romantic) is the growing relationship between Adelia and Sir Rowley Picot, himself a former Knight Templar and thus a suspect. Suspense builds as Adelia rushes to rescue the latest victim at the risk of her own life. Who the madman is, is not revealed until the very end. WHEW!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    What an Enjoyable Read!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author did a wonderful job of intertwining very interesting historical points with a suspenseful, mysterious plot. The characters are very well-written, and the book flows very smoothly. I can't wait to check out her other titles; I hope they're as good as this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    THe Mistress is a must read for anyone...

    This book has a witty plot it's a who done it, and why book. It took us through all the steps that anyone could wish for. Forbidden love, S & M, child murder. How's fault is it? A women who is traveling with a Black eunuch, and a investigator Jew. Though much of the action screams of a "B" horro movie plot, it can be over looked. This book even had the trial that is mostly always absent from other arrested murderer book. Truly a fun and good read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Filled with amazing characters

    This was my second go at this book, and I am not quite sure why I put it down after 10 pages the last time. Likely, I was not in the mood for death and mystery. Now I kick myself for taking so long to get to this marvelous tale.

    It seems I am in the state of reading historical fiction, without even meaning to. And once again, my lack of knowledge on our historical past is driving me bonkers. I finished Mistress of the Art of Death itching to pick up a book on the history of England and the crusades.

    Adelia, the main character, is amazingly charming, given all her anti-social characteristics, and I found mysels wishing I could sit down to dine with her. Pick her brain, befriend her, share in her isolation, come to understand how her mind ticks. I also wished to dine and befriend many of the other characters, including Mansur, Simon of Naples, the Prior, and really much of the entire cast of characters.

    The plot, the mystery, was intigruing, if not a little cliche and I wished that there were more explanation of the behavior of the murderer. Yet, I cannot wait to pick up The Serpent's Tale to bring Adelia back into my life. What may have been lacking, or cliche, in the plot was more than made up for by the characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    fantastic

    This book was a great read, although it starts out a little slow the story is wonderfully written. Although the murder plot might be seen by some to be sick, it does not detract from the overall story. the murders described are no worse than those that take place in society.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    can't wait for more !

    I LOVED this book and have read gone on to read her other 2 (one is the next in this series). This is a series I am looking forward to !

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    Great Historic Fiction!

    Great premise - new twist on mysteries and quasi-historical fiction. Found the book enthralling and well written. Would highly recommend this author and this book.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    This is a book for someone who likes historical fiction and mysteries. The book draws you into 1171 and Henry II's reign, the treatment of women, especially by authorities, and the crusade. The characters are engaging, especially the protagonist, a doctor trained in Salerno!! There are excellent red herrings which draw you away from the real killer. A very good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    I've recommended this book to so many; it is at once charming, s

    I've recommended this book to so many; it is at once charming, suspenseful, historical and intelligent!

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great historical mystery involving forensics and a female doctor

    Great historical mystery involving forensics and a female doctor, two things not very common during this time. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Loved it

    I loved every min of it! Kept me on my toes

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    READ THIS BOOK!

    If you enjoy history, drama, thrillers or even a little romance, you should be reading this book. Excellently written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    Wonderful

    Could not put it down

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Story telling at it's finest... I loved this book

    Imaginative, descriptive of a time and place 800 years old. A mystery, crime story, morality tale and what historical fiction should be. You can't not become "involved" with these characters. Murder, intigue, the dark ages, what more do you want. Attention to detail goes beyond the landscape of the time period, the use of the language of the midevil era of England transports you to a differnet reality. Loved this book. One of the best stories I've read in a very long while. Buy it, read it, keep it and read it again in a couple of years. It's that good.

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

    A Good Book

    This was my first by Ariana Franklin and i say I will have more. I wasn't very prepared for the gruesome details of the children's killings, they can cause you sleepless nights, especially if you have kids. Just a warning. The book is smart, characters are natural and appealing and the story is original and engulfing. Enjoy!

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Unique Historical Murder Mystery

    Set in a unique time in history, the novel succeeds in showing the various religious and political forces at work in England during the reign of Henry II. The various parts of society, the precarious position of both women and "learned" individuals in a religious/feudal society is accurately shown as the background to a truly horrific murder and serial killer. A really good read for any reader - historical fiction readers will like the setting, and murder mystery fans will enjoy the story.
    Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Does not disappoint! :)

    At first glance this book may appear to be a bit of an odd mystery, with an Italian female doctor and her two companions, a Jew and Arab but after the first few pages you will be drawn in! The violence of the crimes committed, the dedication of the heroine, and sheer attention grabbing scenes will make it hard for any good mystery lover to dislike this book! Happy reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    Thrilling

    Ariana never missed the mark. With every page turned you get pulled in deeper. Fast exciting read.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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