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Published by Sphere, 6 June 2013. ISBN 978-0-7515-4973-7
The Lost Abbot is the nineteenth
book in this series. Matthew Bartholomew is a master at the College of Michaelhouse
at the University
of Cambridge, where he
teaches medicine. In the summer of 1358 Mathew doesn't want to go to Peterborough but he has
no choice. He is one of the Bishop of Lincoln’s commissioners, the others are
Procter Michael, Master Langalee, William, Clippsby and Cynric. They have to
discover what happened to Peterborough's
abbot, who rode out to visit a goldsmith and has not been seen since. Abbot
Robert has been missing for a month along with the town's physician Pyk. The
commissioners have only seven days to discover the truth because Michael wants
to get back home. He needs to write the charter for a new college, Winwick
Hall, to avoid uproar in Cambridge.
The story begins with a
description of the execution of Lawrence de Oxforde, a viscous murderer and
thief, some fifty years before. When the Commissioners arrive after a troubled
journey, they find the town in mayhem. Someone is inciting the poor to rise up
against their overlords and the abbey is at war with a powerful goldsmith and
his gang of mercenaries. The obedientiaries of the Abbey have already started
infighting over who will be the next abbot and are hostile to the commission.
Both hospitals in Peterborough
are bitter rivals as the shrines compete at making money from their dubious
relics. One uses a 143 year old man called Kirwell, the other uses the grave of
the evil Lawrence de Oxforde. Both apparently grant miracles and both are
linked because Oxforde gave Kirwell a prayer before being hung. This prayer is
the key to Kirwell’s longevity, as long as he doesn’t show it to anyone.Thus begins a series of murders, the first
victim being Joan, the woman in charge of Oxforde's tomb.
The Matthew Bartholomew
novels are about a physician living and working in Cambridge in the 1340s and 1350s. He is the
University's 'corpse examiner.' Bartholomew and proctor Michael investigate
unexplained deaths, often Mathew is unwilling, they are inaccurate and
in-competent detectives but with luck they inevitably come to the correct
Fans of Mathew
Bartholomew and Susanna Gregory will enjoy this book immensely.
Reviewer: Sue Lord
Susanna Gregory was raised in Bristol. After graduating from
university, she spent three years in Leeds, as an officer in the West Yorkshire
Police, before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental
consultant, doing fieldwork with whales, seals and walruses during seventeen
field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and
biological anthropology. She is the creator of the Thomas Chaloner series of
mysteries set in Restoration London as well as the Matthew Bartholomew books,
and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.
Sue Lord originally studied Fine Art and Art History, her MA
is in Creative Writing. She now, revues, teaches, mentors and script doctors.
She lives in central London and Cornwall. Her favourite
pastime is gardening.