A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death Series #4)

A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death Series #4)

by Ariana Franklin


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Tess Garritsen calls this one "my favorite book of the year!"

In 1176, King Henry II sends his daughter Joanna to Palermo to marry his cousin, the king of Sicily. Henry chooses Adelia Aguilar to travel with the princess and safeguard her health. But when people in the wedding procession are murdered, Adelia and Rowley must discover the killer's identity, and whether he is stalking the princess or Adelia herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425238868
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2011
Series: Mistress of the Art of Death Series , #4
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 312,342
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.07(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A bestselling author and former journalist, she lives in England with her husband, the film critic Barry Norman.

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A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 95 reviews.
dragonsscape More than 1 year ago
A fascinating who-dunnit. Nobody writes mysteries better than the British & "Procession" is no exception. The reader is given innuendo & a few sparse clues to sort out the villain; nothing is given away until the very end of the tale. Ms Franklin's research & knowledge of the story's historical time frame is superb &, as before, she uses an actual historical event during the reign of Henry II as the framework against which the mystery is set ~~ Princess Joanna's journey (procession) to Sicily in 1176. Well written, impeccably researched & provocative, "A Muyderous Procession" is excellent.
Rues More than 1 year ago
While I just love this series, the ending reeked. Too many life or death questions left hanging makes for an unhappy reader. Okay, maybe this once I'll let it go, but only because I just HAVE to know what happens next! All the characters are still great, and I love the O'Donnell even though I felt so sad for him at the end. The intricacies of the plot kept me guessing right up until the end when Scarry was revealed. I really liked the viewpoint shifts from Adelia to Scarry; they provided glimpses into his twisted mind that gave a counterpoint to the hypocrisy of the Church. The thematic elements of blind dogma and cruel zealotry deepened the story beyond just entertainment, offering insight into many of the dark undercurrents that plague even our modern world. While the book can be read purely on a surface leve as a good mystery story, the interweaving of darker depths gives it the multi-level complexity of real literature that I find most enjoyable of all. Yeah, it's a great read!
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Adelia is known as the Mistress of the Art of Death. Some call her a witch because of her healing abilities, some are aware of her talent but others would be more than terrified of this strong-willed woman. She has to perform her art craft under the guise of a translator. It's tough but Adelia makes it seem effortless. When King Henry II wants to send his daughter to marry, he chooses Adelia to make sure that his daughter arrives safely. Once they set off, people seem to be dropping dead all around them. Can Adelia figure out who is behind this before she loses her life as well? This book started out a little dry for me. When I was about halfway through it got a lot better. Overall, a decent read.
CheliD More than 1 year ago
The fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series sees Adeila under the orders of Henry II accompanying Princess Joanna to her wedding in Sicily. Unknown to her and her personal entourage, Adeila is being followed by Scarry - the partner of the evil character from the previous book. He has disguised himself as part of the Princess' entourage and no one suspects except Rowley and Ulf after trouble starts to plaque the procession. The story is enthralling, keeping the reader's attention and at times, taking your breath away. I was a bit disappointed at the swiftness of the conclusion as if Ms. Franklin felt the story should end and just did it but I also wish there wasn't such a cliffhanger. I love the series and wish the books came faster, but I don't want the quality to fall. The author has passed away and I fear that Adelia's fans will never know what happens, but it is fun to speculate!
mysteryloverCW More than 1 year ago
Having been told about the series by a friend, I read Mistress of the Art of Death and was completely hooked. A Murderous Procession did not disappoint. My only concern now is the cliff hanger ending. Cannot wait for #5. Please hurry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved this book. I've read them all and this is easily my favorite! The plot was excellent, the humor enjoyable. This is the first in the series where I was wrong in my guess as to who the villain was! As soon as I finished it I went back to read it again. it's THAT good. Can't wait for the next one. Hope to see the O'Donnell again.
lazydayzmom More than 1 year ago
The entire series is captivating and the leading character becomes someone I cant wait to hear from! I have a new found appreciation for historical fiction.
Fricka More than 1 year ago
The engaging character, Adelia Aguilar, is back in this fourth book of Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death series. Adelia is surprised to find herself commanded to accompany Henry II's daughter Joanna, to Sicily for an arranged marriage to William II of that country. Adelia is dismayed to find that she must leave her daughter behind ( Henry's way of making sure that Adelia returns to England ). Adelia also does not know that she has been stalked by an assassin, and that it is due to the influence of Rowley, Bishop of Saint Albans, that Adelia accompany the procession. Rowley's hope that by doing so he is taking Adelia out of harm's way is short-lived, and it is clear that the enemy has joined the group as well. Rowley only knows the criminal by his bandit name of Scarry, and must match the person to a gentrified name before it is too late. Franklin's deft writing once again creates a book that is enjoyable to read, and her memorable characters and thrilling plot line make this a must-read for fans of historical fiction and mysteries alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This 4th in the Adelia Aguilar Mistress of the Art of Death series is a welcome addition for mystery and history fans. Ms. Franklin seamlessly and realistically blends her fictional characters with true life figures and events in 12th century England and Europe. Readers of Adelia's previous mysteries will recognize many characters, real and fictional, and the renewal of previous relationships and plots---both romantic and dangerous. In this latest adventure Adelia, a physician, is ordered by the King of England to accompany his daughter as she travels across Europe to her royal wedding. Along the way Adelia faces physical hardships, warfare, religious persecution, jealousy, superstition, royal politics, challenges to her ability as a healer, and of course, murder. Unlike previous Adelia Aguilar mysteries, this one ends with a cliffhanger! --Eek! ---What a surprise. I'm hoping that the next in the series will be along soon. Readers can enjoy this novel without reading the previous books in the series, but I would recommend reading the others too as I think it is an enjoyable and well-written mystery series.
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
While the first book is still my favorite, this was a decent fourth installment in the series. Still love the character of Adelia and all of her cohorts, including a couple of new ones introduced in this book. In this installment King Henry "persuades" Adelia to accompany his daughter to Palermo for her marriage to William. Along the way they encounter many the misadventure, all the while being stalked by an old enemy out for revenge. While this book started a little slow for me, it did pick up the pace about half way through and was a satisfying entry in Adelia's continuing story. I can't wait for the next book -- and there had better be a next one, as I was a little unhappy with the ending of this one!
jmaloney17 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like this series of books. I am very sad that the writer passed away and there will be no more.
gypsysmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Henry the Second's young (10!) daughter, Joanna, is travelling from England to Sicily to marry William II of Sicily. He is also sending the famous sword of King Arthur, Excalibur, to William. Henry commands Adelia Aquilar, his Mistress of the Art of Death, to accompany Joanna and Excalibur which Adelia found in the last book. Rowley, Adelia's lover, Mansur and Ulf will also be going on the trip but Adelia's daughter is staying behind with Henry's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. This will ensure that Adelia will return to England. Also in the procession, unbeknownst to Adelia is the murderous Scarry from the last book. Scarry is crazy but hides it well and because he is well-educated can pass in the throng escorting Joanna. We don't learn until the last who Scarry is and I must say I was completely surprised.At one point in the book Adelia meets several women of a sect now referred to as Cathars. I had never heard of Catharism until this book and I found this information quite fascinating.Adelia and Rowley continue to chafe under the restrictions imposed by Rowley's position as a Catholic bishop. A new love interest, Patrick O'Donnell, is in the picture but although O'Donnell risks life and limb for her Adelia still only has eyes for Rowley. I wonder what would have happened in the next book. I like Rowley but he doesn't put Adelia first in his priorities and O'Donnell does.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A journey to escort Henry II's daughter Joanna to her marriage in Sicily is dogged by a deranged serial killer with a grudge. Anti-Cathar hysteria adds a further level of danger.Satisfying historical fiction with well-rounded characters and a mystery/suspense plot. The first in the series is the best.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series sees Adeila under the orders of Henry II accompanying Princess Joanna to her wedding in Sicily. Unknown to her and her personal entourage, Adeila is being followed by Scarry - the partner of the evil character from the previous book. He has disguised himself as part of the Princess' entourage and no one suspects except Rowley and Ulf after trouble starts to plaque the procession.The story is enthralling, keeping the reader's attention and at times, taking your breath away. I was a bit disappointed at the swiftness of the conclusion as if Ms. Franklin felt the story should end and just did it but I also wish there wasn't such a cliffhanger. I love the series and wish the books came faster, but I don't want the quality to fall.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ariana Franklin's newest offering in the `Mistress of the Art of Death,' series, "A Murderous Procession," is a fitting continuation of the highly successful cycle. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Agilar, twelfth century physician and woman of independent thought, is ordered by King Henry II of England to accompany his ten-year-old daughter Joanna to Sicily. Once there Joanna will marry William II and Adelia will present him with Excalibur, King Arthur's legendary sword. Also making the trip is Rowley, Bishop of Saint Albans and Adelia's lover, and her Arab companion, Mansur. However, unknown to these three, Adelia's stalker, the murderous Scarry, joins the company as he seeks revenge on Adelia for his lover's death. Franklin's command of time and place are as accurate as usual; they come alive in her story yet she never burdens the reader with unnecessary historical facts. Her characters as always are sharply drawn and consistent. The suspense element develops nicely. Consistently well-written series are rare; Franklin has so far avoided the usual pitfalls. Her characters continue to mature; their relationships change, and new characters add depth. Five Stars - "A Murderous Procession" should appeal to those who love historical novels and well-wrought fiction.
DivineMissW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I like the characters and the time period is right up my alley. The stupidity of the main character drives the book, but she is supposed to be a most insightful and highly educated woman of her times but she does not think very well in personal situations which I find incredibly frustrating. I think the author needs to be a little more clever in how she moves the main character around without making her seem mindless and naive. It gets old quickly as this is how the main character in the the other books in the series is handled also. Doesn't she get any smarter as she ages? Seems not! She appears to be even more ignorant of the world around her as she was 5 years ago. One more like this and I wont be able to stay awake.The historical aspect is redeeming. I enjoyed traveling throughout the world with the characters, through Spain and the mountains and into Palermo and the detail is wonderful for the time period. Descriptions of the sons of King Henry II are great as are the descriptions of the royal events of the time.
lauriebrown54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series of medieval mysteries, King Henry II of England commands Adelia to accompany his ten year old daughter, Princess Joanna, on her trip to Sicily to marry it¿s king, William II. He trusts both her medical knowledge and her skill at mysteries to keep his daughter safe from harm. At first elated to be returning to the country where she was raised, her elation turns to despair when Henry tells her that he will be keeping her daughter Allie in England to insure Adelia¿s return. At best, the trip will take months and Adelia has no wish to be separated from her daughter for so long. There is no denying a king his wishes, however, and Allie and her nurse Glytha are left in care of Queen Eleanor. But Joanna is not the only treasure to be kept safe on this journey; Henry is secretly sending the sword Excalibur to William. Not just valuable for its jewels, it represents England and the possessor would have a strong rallying point. Given how Henry¿s sons kept trying to take the throne from him, that even could be fatal for him. And what no one realizes is that also on this trip is Adelia¿s sworn enemy, one who wishes her both disgraced and dead. Odd, unpleasant events begin to happen before the group even sets out. At first they seem like accidents, but things get more suspicious. And as the group starts to think of the events as deliberate, they also find that the only one with known motive is Adelia¿ and they could have only been done by witchcraft. With the Inquisition just getting started, this could lead to a very bad end for Adelia- and it almost does. No one- except nature- makes an attempt on Joanna¿s life, but Adelia is in constant peril right up to the end. This novel is darker in tone than the first three. Europe is falling under the Inquisition and the Christian Crusaders are trying to elimate Moslims. Even Sicily, where Adelia was raised and educated, is falling to prejudice. Women will no longer be allowed to be doctors. Mixed marriages will no longer be allowed. This is as horrifying to Adelia as her own flesh and blood enemy is, and it¿s something that she cannot cure. Franklin backs up her mystery stories with solid historical research.The action in the book never lets up, and the cliffhanger ending leaves us screaming ¿No, no, no!!!¿ and hoping that book five comes out very soon.
thejohnsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another good read involving the intrepid adelia aguilar, mistress of the art of death. In this novel adelelia is press-ganged by Henry II into accompanying his daughter Joanna to Scicily for her wedding to the island's Norman King. The journey is fraught with danger as Adelia is stalked by Scarry, intent on revenge for his lover's death in the previous novel. Maybe not quite as strong as the previous novels in the series but still an enjoyable page turner.
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fourth "Mistress of the Art of Death" mystery in the ongoing series, this book was a grave (!) disappointment. To my *intense* irritation, Franklin chose to reveal the identity of the murderer for sure and certain on p19.I ask you...page nineteen...what in Satan's name (appropriate to the case, here, as Scarry-the-Satanist is the killer) possessed her to do that?! And what addlepated editor thought it was a good idea?!One whole star off for that.I was still reeling from that blow when I got the next one: Road trip! Another outing for the Mistress of the Art of Death, traipsing off to do Henry's bidding, only this time it's to Sicily. Yes, that Sicily, the true home of Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, and the home of her beloved parents! Only Henry, not being any sort of a fool, keeps Adelia's and Rowley's daughter in the care of Eleanor as a hostage for Adelia's safe return to England and his service.Now the last time there was a road trip, remember, was Adelia sloshing to and fro in frozen fenlands, to not much purpose. Now we have her on an international trip. My spirits sank into my sandals. Another half star off.So I trudge on through the book, depressed because I already know who killed all the dead folk that keep appearing, and irked every time I see italics because that's Scarry-the-killer being shoved at me, and only keeping on with the reading because I like the story...the factual wedding procession of Henry and Eleanor's daughter Joanna to William d'Hautville's Kingdom of Sicily.The adventures of Adelia, Ulf, Mansur, and some new characters who will feature prominently in future books, as they encounter Cathars, Catholics, and Countesses who help, hinder, and attempt to murder them, kept me turning pages. I wasn't happy about it, but I was doing it. "Every series has its duds," I explained to my dog as she demanded that I put the book down and pet her at 2a last night. "Just have to power through this one." The dog was unimpressed. She bit the dust jacket.Then we get to Sicily. The wedding of resolute little Joanna and feckless, pretty William was nicely rendered, and the descriptions of Palermo were a joy. Then came the last chapter, a chase scene like the one that climaxes the movie "Charade", which is an all-time favorite of mine. Events unspool, there is a shocking, shocking attempted murder, and the end of the book is just dazzlingly exciting. I put back a tenth of a star. But damn the woman! This could have been a four-and-a-half star read, if she'd just left the whole Scarry-talks-to-us thing in the bin where it belonged!*aaargh* read the damned thing if you're already in the series, but otherwise save yourself from the agonies of the immersion into the twelfth century, so complete and so fully absorbing...read Agatha Christie instead, she never even feints at fairness to her readers.
nancyewhite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one doesn't live up to the first and third in the series. Perhaps Franklin is an every other book kind of writer. Nevertheless this tale of Adelia accompanying King Henry's daughter Joanna to her wedding is worth reading if you are already engaged in the series. Visiting the characters from the other books and meeting some who are new are worth the time. This book also brutally described some of the violence, hatred and intolerance of the Crusades and the upcoming Inquisition.
molliewatts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Adelia Aguilar once again finds herself in the service of King Henry II, this time accompanying his daughter Joanna on her wedding procession to marry the King of Sicily. Adelia is to serve as physician and somewhat-protector of Princess Joanna, but she and Mansur face familiar obstacles from both medical and religious factions. An old foe predictably rears his ugly head, but his antagonism toward Adelia still makes for an interesting story. Missing from this book are Gyltha and Allie (they are left behind in England), but familiar characters include Ulf, the dog Ward, and Rowley. As always, the scientific expertise of a woman clashes horribly with the religious and medical attitudes of the time, a fact even more pronounced in this book as the Church strengthens its hold on medieval Europe - the Papal Inquisition soon followed, as did numerous crusades. The Church's crusade against the Cathars provides conflict for Adelia and company as they move through the Languedoc region of southern France. Readers finally meet Adelia's foster parents, although they are given only brief cameos toward the end of the story. Readers also finally visit Adelia's beloved Sicily, although she is devastated to find her forward-thinking country slowly regressing under the influence of the Catholic Church - no longer are women even allowed to attend the school in Salerno where she received her training, and the happy mesh of cultures she has so long praised is becoming less tolerant of the differences that were once embraced.I can only wonder what the next adventure holds for the Mistress of the Art of Death, especially since the death of Henry II and the succession of his son Richard should be happening soon. Will Adelia's adventures end when Henry does? I imagine there will be at least one more novel, seeing as how this one ends on a cliffhanger...
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, she has done it again, another fabulous historical thriller by Ariana Franklin! Mistress of the art of death and medical doctor, Adelia Aguilar is sent on another mission for the king, Henry the II. This time she must accompany Henry's ten year old daughter, Joanna, in a royal procession across Europe to Palermo to marry the King of Sicily. She is responsible for Joanna's health during the journey. Adelia is heartbroken as she must leave her own small daughter behind but Henry's request is an order. It is 1176 and there is an uneasy truce between Henry and his rebellious son, Richard( later Richard the Lionheart) who rules Aquitaine. But there is a murderer in the group seeking revenge and as they travel, suspicious deaths begin to occur. Fans of Ariana Franklin will revel in this newest addition to the adventures of Adelia Aguilar.
keywestnan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite so far in the Mistress of the Art of Death Series. Perhaps historical purists would have a problem with the premise -- a female Sicilian physician in the service of Henry II of England is sent by him to accompany his daughter to Sicily for marriage -- but I don't care. I imagine the speech is insanely anachronistic. I still don't care. I care about these characters and what happens to them and Franklin tells a great tale. The crimes don't seem too contrived or implausible. Here's hoping Franklin has a lot more adventures in store for Adelia.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth book in Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death series. Franklin is one of my favorite authors of all time and all genres, both for this series and her incredible stand alone novel City of Shadows.This series is about Adelia Aguilar, who grew up in a golden era in Sicily where it was possible for women to be trained as doctors. Adelia was the adopted daughter of two doctors, and follows in her father's footstep as a doctor and especially a pathologist. In the first book in the series she is sent to England to help King Henry II solve murders that threaten his kingdom. Henry forces her to stay in England, and she finds a lover who can't marry her, being a bishop, and has a daughter by him.In this book, Henry has a different need for her, to accompany his and Eleanor's 10-year old daughter Joanna to Sicily for her marriage to the king. Adelia is accompanied by her lover Rowley the Bishop of St. Albans, as well as Mansur, the Muslim who has been with her since her first trip to England, but without her daughter and her daughter's nurse. Henry holds them hostage so she will return to England.Two years before, Adelia was forced to kill the outlaw Wolf. His lover Scarry was thought to have died in the cleaning out of the outlaw's lair, but he survived and now hunts Adelia. Adelia refuses to believe it until after there have been too many deaths.This may not have been my favorite in the series, but it does not disappoint. Franklin (pen name of British writer Diana Norman) continues to create rich characters and to create a nuanced and complex picture of the time and place that Adelia inhabits.
Chatterbox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth in a series of 12th century mysteries by veteran author Ariana Franklin (who also has written under the name of Diana Norman). Her main character is Sicilian-born Adelia Aguilar, a trained physician who is sent to Henry II's England in response to the latter's request for someone with the skills to cure illness and investigate mysterious deaths. Over the eight or so years covered in the previous books, Adelia has built a new life for herself and her young daughter, when Henry announces he wants her to travel back to Sicily, this time in the train of his daughter, Princess Joanna, who is going to marry the king. The problem? An enemy from Adelia's past, now playing a new role, will be among the large party of nobles and clergy -- and he won't stop at anything to exact his revenge on her, even if it means taking the lives of others. Adelia's narrative is the main one in the book, but Franklin occasionally lets the reader glimpse the inside of the mind of "Scarry" as he plots, Machiavelli-like, Adelia's downfall. It's also great to try and figure out which one of the princess's entourage is the figure from Adelia's past, who she herself can only recall as a dimly seen figure dressed as an outlaw in the forest. This is a historically fascinating read, as the journey and Adelia's adventures take her through not only Norman France but south to Aquitaine and then to the Languedoc, just as the Cathars are beginning to be persecuted for heresy, before reaching its climax in Palermo. This meets my test of being a "thumping good read", and while the first book in this series is excellent, I found myself enjoying this one more, simply because of the fascinating backdrop of Joanna's real-life journey to Sicily. I wouldn't recommend reading this without having read previous books, however, as too many plot and character details will be obscure. 4.5 stars.