The sixteenth chronicle in the Matthew Bartholomew series.
When a wealthy benefactor is found dead in Michaelhouse, Brother Michael and Matthew Bartholomew must find the culprit before the College is accused of foul play. At the same time, Cambridge is plagued by a mystery thief, who is targeting rich pilgrims. Moreover, pranksters are at large in the University, staging a series of practical jokes that are growing increasingly dangerous, and that are dividing scholars into bitterly opposed factions.
Bartholomew and Michael soon learn that their various mysteries are connected, and it becomes a race against time to catch the killer-thief before the University explodes into a violent conflict that could destroy it forever.
'A first-rate treat for mystery lovers' (Historical Novels Review)
'Susanna Gregory has an extraordinary ability to conjure up a strong sense of time and place' (Choice)
British author Gregory again displays her mastery of complex storytelling and period detail in her 16th mystery set in 14th-century Cambridge, the home of doctor, instructor, and corpse examiner Matthew Bartholomew (after 2009's A Vein of Deceit). Amid an atmosphere of increasing tension between Cambridge's colleges and the less affluent hostels, Bartholomew must identify the killer of taverner John Drax, who was initially believed the victim of an accident, until the physician found a fatal stab wound on his body. For many, the book's pleasures will stem less from the resolution of the various interlocking puzzles than from the utterly convincing portrait of an England still recovering from the great pestilence of the previous decade, complete with familiar complaints about the timeliness of home contractors' work and avaricious people seeking to profit from the tragic plague. Unlike in many other long-running series, newcomers will find nothing inaccessible in this installment. \n