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Susanna Gregory is the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cruwys, a Cambridgemarker academic who was previously a coroner's officer. She writes detective fiction, and is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridgemarker.

These books may have some aspects in common with the Ellis Peters Cadfael series, the mediaeval adventures of a highly intelligent Benedictine monk and herbalist who came to the Benedictine order late in an eventful life, bringing with him considerable secular experience and wisdom combined with a deal of native wit. This sets him apart from his comparatively innocent and naíve monastic brethren. His activities, both as a monk and a healer, embroil him in a series of mysterious crimes, both secular and monastic, an he enthusiastically assumes the róle of an amateur sleuth. Sceptical of superstition, he is somewhat ahead of his time, and much accurate historical detail is woven into the adventures. But there any resemblance to the comparatively warm-hearted Cadfael series ends: the tone and subject matter of the Gregory novels is far darker and does not shrink from portraying the harsh realities of life in the Middle Ages. The first in the series, A Plague on Both Your Houses is set against the ravages of the Black Death and subsequent novels take much of their subject matter from the attempts of society to recover from this disaster.

These novels bear the marks of much detailed research into mediaeval conditions - many of the supporting characters have names taken from the documentation of the time, referenced at the end of each book - and bring vividly to life the all-pervading squalor of living conditions in England during the Middle Ages. The deep-rooted and pervasive practice of traditional leechcraft as it contrasts with the dawning science of evidence-based medicine is a common bone of contention between Matthew and the students he teaches at Michaelhouse College (now part of Trinity College, Cambridgemarker), whilst the conflict between the students of Cambridgemarker and the townsfolk continually threatens to escalate into violence.

Another series of books, set just after the Restoration of Charles II and featuring Thomas Chaloner, detective and former spy, began with A Conspiracy of Violence published in January 2006, and continues with The Westminster Poisoner, published in hardback edition December 2008.

Matthew Bartholomew

  1. A Plague on Both Your Houses
  2. An Unholy Alliance
  3. A Bone of Contention
  4. A Deadly Brew
  5. A Wicked Deed
  6. A Masterly Murder
  7. An Order for Death
  8. A Summer of Discontent
  9. A Killer in Winter
  10. The Hand of Justice
  11. The Mark of a Murderer
  12. The Tarnished Chalice
  13. To Kill or Cure
  14. The Devil's Disciples
  15. A Vein of Deceit
  16. The Killer of Pilgrims (due June 2010)


Chaloner

  1. A Conspiracy of Violence: Chaloner's First Exploit in Restoration London (2006)
  2. Blood On the Strand: Chaloner's Second Exploit in Restoration London (2006)
  3. The Butcher of Smithfield: Chaloner's Third Exploit in Restoration London (2008)
  4. The Westminster Poisoner: Chaloner's Fourth Exploit in Restoration London (2008)
  5. A Murder on London Bridge: Chaloner's Fifth Exploit in Restoration London (due Dec 2009)


References

  • A Conspiracy of Violence: Chaloner's First Exploit in Restoration London. Review in Publishers' Weekly. New York: May 1, 2006. Vol.253, Iss. 18; p. 41.
  • The Tainted Relic (co-authored by Gregory). Review in Publishers' Weekly. New York: Oct 31, 2005. Vol. 252, Iss. 43; p. 35
  • 'A Plague on Both Your Houses. Review by Rex E Klett. Library Journal. New York: Oct 1, 1998. Vol.123, Iss. 16; p. 139.
  • An Unholy Alliance. Review by Brainard, Dulcy. Publishers' Weekly. New York: Nov 25, 1996. Vol.243, Iss. 48; p.?.
  • A Bone of Contention. Review by Rex E Klett. Library Journal. New York: Dec 1997. Vol.122, Iss. 20; p. 158.
  • A Bone of Contention. Review by Dulcy Brainard. Publishers' Weekly. New York: Sep 29, 1997. Vol.244, Iss. 40; p. 70.
  • An Unholy Alliance. Review by Klett, Rex E. Library Journal. New York: Dec 1996. Vol.121, Iss. 20; p. 150.
  • An Unholy Alliance. Review by Brainard, Dulcy. Publishers' Weekly. New York: Nov 25, 1996. Vol.243, Iss. 48; p.?


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