Favorite Quotes

"For my totem, the alley cat. We share the situation of small predators who easily become prey. I have my equivalent of claws and teeth, and indeed my arched back and loud hiss are my best defenses. When I need to hide my size and weakness, I can look fiercer than I am, but when I cannot talk or threaten or argue my way out of trouble, then I am in a lot of trouble. We are scavengers in the alleys and streets of a society we do not control and scarcely influence. We survive and perish both by taking lovers. Freedom is a daily necessity like water, and we love most loyally and longest those who allow us at least occasionally to vanish and wander the curious night. To them we always return from the eight deaths before the last."


from Braided Lives by Marge Piercy

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Mistress of the Art of Death

Mistress of the Art of Death..

Title: Mistress of the Art of Death..
By: Ariana Franklin

In twelfth century Cambridge, tensions are high between the local townsfolk and the Jewish population, suspected of murdering and disfiguring four children. King Henry II has requested aid of an expert in reading the dead from the Salerno School of Medicine in Italy. He is attempting to shelter the Jews, but is mostly worried about the tax revenue they bring him. Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, Adelia for short, finds herself with a complicated mystery to solve -- hampered by the fact that no one expects the learned doctor to be a woman.

Ariana Franklin's story is a pleasing combination of history and mystery. The sleuth Adelia's attitudes may be surprisingly modern, but it helps to bridge the gap between the contemporary reader and the medieval setting. A series of sequels detail the further investigations of this "doctor to the dead": The Serpent's Tale, Grave Goods, and A Murderous Procession.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction, mystery

Posted by Ginger L. on March 31, 2011 at 1:03 p.m.
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