For the twentieth anniversary of the start of the Matthew Bartholomew series, Sphere is delighted to reissue all of the medieval monk's cases with beautiful new series-style covers.
The winter of 1353 has been appallingly wet, there is a fever outbreak amongst the poorer townspeople and the country is not yet fully recovered from the aftermath of the plague. The increasing reputation and wealth of the Cambridge colleges are causing dangerous tensions between the town, Church and University.
Matthew Bartholomew is called to look into the deaths of three members of the University of who died from drinking poisoned wine, and soon he stumbles upon criminal activities that implicate his relatives, friends and colleagues - so he must solve the case before matters in the town get out of hand...
In the year 1357, Cambridge University is in dire financial straits: the town's landlords are demanding an extortionate rent rise for the students' hostels and the plague years have left the colleges with scant resources. Tension between town and gown is at boiling point and soon explodes into violence and death.
Into this maelstrom comes a charismatic physician whose healing methods owe more to magic than medicine - but his success threatens Matthew Bartholomew's professional reputation, and his life ...
A murderous town-and-gown conflict propels the action of Gregory's engrossing 13th mystery set in 14th-century Cambridge and featuring physician Matthew Bartholomew (after 2006's The Tarnished Chalice). The various university colleges have been keeping students' rents low so they can afford their academic fees, but avaricious landlords now want to triple the rents, a threat to the colleges' existence. Meanwhile, Bartholomew and his three fellow Cambridge physicians find their income drained off by the chicanery of phony medicusRichard Arderne, out to make a killing healing the sick and raising the dead by waving a supposedly magic feather. Three grisly murders add to Bartholomew's woes. Though the narrative often bogs down in philosophical disputations, Gregory excels at recreating the faces, menus, sounds and putrid smells of a medieval English town just recovering from the Black Death. Strong-stomached readers will relish this trip into England's grim and grimy past.