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Mistress of the art of death
Ariana Franklin
Adult Fiction FRANKLI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Had Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael been born a few decades later, he might have found a worthy associate and friend in Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar of Salerno, a short and short-tempered medieval coroner hired in secret by King Henry II to find out who's behind the horrific murders of Christian children in Cambridge, England. Prominent local Jews stand accused; Henry wants them freed, mostly for the sake of their tax revenue. As Adelia examines the children's bodies and gets to know the people of Cambridge, she has no trouble assembling a long list of suspects, but she encounters considerable difficulty trying to narrow it down, a struggle in which the reader gladly joins her. Not all of the plot twists are surprising and the romantic subplot is an unnecessary afterthought, but Franklin (City of Shadows) has developed a skillful blend of historical fact and gruesome fiction that's more than sufficient to keep readers interested and entertained. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

It is 1171 in Cambridge, England, and Henry II is beside himself. Four children have been found murdered and mutilated, and the townsfolk of Cambridge are blaming the Jews, who have taken shelter in the castle. King Henry is less concerned about the murderer than the tax revenue he is losing while the Jewish community languishes in the fortress. He appeals to the king of Sicily to send him a master of the art of death-one who can look at the deceased and determine how he or she died. Adelia, a mistress of this art, arrives with a group of returning pilgrims. Along with a eunuch escort named Mansur and Simon of Naples, a Jew with an affinity for detection, she must piece together the mystery of these hideous crimes before the monster kills again. In her second historical novel (after City of Shadows), Franklin (the pen name of British writer Diana Norman) presents a fascinating character in Adelia, who is odd for her era and profession yet familiar in her flaws and complexity. This novel will surely please mystery fans as well as lovers of historical fiction. Recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/06.]-Anna M. Nelson, Collier Cty. P.L., Naples, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Adelia Aguilar
Adopted by a Jew and his Catholic wife, both doctorsl studied at the School of Salerno; must avoid her true identity to avoid accusations of witchcraft; secretly hired by King Henry II to investigate the horrific murders of four children.
Medical examiner

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