Fabulous Fiction Firsts #50

Kirkus reviewer called Mistress of the Art of Death* “CSI meets The Canterbury Tales”.

The brilliant female forensic pathologist, Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar of Salerno, a short and short-tempered medieval coroner is hired in secret by King Henry II to find out who's behind the horrific murders of 4 Christian children in Cambridge. Less concerned about the murderer than the tax revenue he is losing while prominent local Jews stand accused and languish in the fortress, Henry wants them freed.

Aided by a eunuch escort and a Jew with an affinity for detection, Adelia must piece together the mystery of these hideous crimes among a long list of suspects before the killer strikes again.

Mistress is a skillful blend of historical fact and gruesome fiction that will surely entertain, and Franklin presents a fascinating character in Adelia, who is odd for her era and profession yet familiar in her flaws and complexity. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait long for the next in this new series.

For fans of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael series.

Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British historical fiction writer Diana Norman. Her first stand-alone City of Shadows is set in 1922 Berlin, a women in an asylum claims to be the only survivor of the Czar’s family and the heir to the Romanov fortune.

* = Starred Review(s)