Once in a while a book comes along that you cannot put down and Mistress of the Art of Death was such a book. I was drawn into the story from the first paragraph and stayed there until the end of the book. The main character, Adelia Aguilar, held my attention and interest throughout the entire book with her most unusual, for the period of time, occupation. Not only is she a female doctor but she is also the medieval version of today's pathologist which is quite acceptable in her Italian home town of Salerno but very suspect in Medieval England. Travelling with two unlikely companions – a Jewish investigator and a Saracen who is her protector she has made her way to England in order to aid in the investigation of the death of four children in Cambridge.
The story makes use of actual historical events and characters and the descriptions of Medieval England and the characters who live in Cambridge are rich and captivating; bringing those times to life in full colour in the mind. Adelia's character, that of dedicated doctor and avowed celibate, undergoes a transformation during the course of the story and is done in a convincing fashion. Determined to remain a practising Mistress of the Art of Death and doctor, she adopts rather a modern approach when confronted with the prospect of falling in love.
As a lover of both historical and crime fiction I'm delighted to find a 'new to me' author who brings these two genres together in such a convincing, competent and enjoyable fashion.
If I gave marks for books this would rate a 10/10 I truly couldn't put it down.
This is my first review for the Great Transworld Crime Caper and my third review for the Historical Reading Challenge.