Mistress of the Art of Death – Ariana Franklin

Cover image of the book

I found this to be a very well written story that kept me turning pages throughout. The book is told in a close third person narrative and set in the the Yorkshire countryside during the reign of King Henry II. The king is only a side character which I enjoyed. Most of the scenes are of ordinary people in ordinary places. There are very few set within a court.

This book conveys a feeling for the time without getting bogged down with confusing and archaic references. I especially enjoyed the reasoning behind Adelia Aguilar, explaining how her education and expertise in post-mortem examination came from her training at a famous school in Sicily.

My only issue with this book was the romantic sub plot. I felt it let the example of a strong female lead down at first, but Adelia’s choices in the final chapters mollified my disappointment enough I’m happy to give this book a five coffee bean rating.

I enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie the three Sicilians begin the story with. This theme of friendship subtly colours all the chapters and eventually merged into a larger group by the end of the novel.

I think this book would appeal to readers looking for an engaging mystery novel set in medieval England.

Five out of five coffee beans.

Please see the publisher website for more information.