Admittedly, I am not a fan of historical fiction audiobooks. When perusing for new books, I generally review the book copy first. If it says that it takes place any time before 1950,
I pretty much put it back. One day last year I was at the library, scanning titles on the shelf. That’s when I came across this title: “Mistress of the Art of Death. I was hooked.
Mistress of the Art of Death
Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British author Diana Norman. No offense, Ms. Norman, but I’m glad I didn’t know that before I read Mistress of the Art of Death. Norman writes books of the type I put back after scanning the summary and finding words like “genteel” and “prudish”.
For some reason, when I read a description that talks about staunch Patriots, I move on to the next book on the shelf.
Anyway, I happened upon Mistress of the Art of Death and the title hijacked me. I didn’t even read the book jacket! It was apparent from the cover illustration that it did not take place in this century, but I loved the title so much that I decided to forgo my usual reluctance and give it a try.
The protagonist, Adelia Aguilar, is a medieval forensic pathologist entrusted with the investigation into a series of murders of children in Cambridge by King Henry. She comes from Italy, where she was considered a medical expert. In England, however, women are not allowed to study such things and she would be accused of witchcraft if her true identity was discovered. The characters are well developed and the plot moves very quickly.
The Serpent’s Tale (read by Kate Reading)
The Serpent’s Tale again features Adelia Aguilar. She is called to service by King Henry to look into the murder of the King’s mistress. Reluctant to explore the case, but unable to refuse the King, Adelia uses her keen medical skills to unravel the tangled maze of deceit.
Grave Goods (read by Kate Reading)
This is the third installment in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. I am currently very near the end and enjoying it as much as I did the others. Adelia has been called to Glastonbury Abbey to examine two hidden skeletons. Could they be the remains of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere?
Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death series is well worth the listen. Fast paced, well written, and very enjoyable, I highly recommend them. Even if you don’t like historical fiction.