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Saturday 20 August 2016

‘A Grave Concern’ by Susanna Gregory

Published by Sphere,
26 July 2016.
ISBN: 978-0751549799

It is Cambridge 1359 and Tynkell the University's Chancellor dies fighting a cloaked figure on the roof of the St. Mary the Great church. Whoever killed him seemed to fly away and the gathered crowd are convinced it was the devil. There is certainly no sign of him in the church.

So begins the search for a new Chancellor, a very much sort after position resulting in many unpopular and unsavoury characters putting themselves up for election. It is Brother Michael's job to organise it, and as he has been offered a Bishopric causing him to leave Cambridge, he wants to make sure he sees the best candidate in place before he goes.

However, to add to his consternation, a number of murders take place, including some of the candidates for the Chancellorship. Matthew Bartholomew, Michael's friend, a physician and a bit of a sleuth is baffled as to the connection of the deaths as they include workmen too, currently building tombs in the church. This leads him to believe that there must be two different killers at large. Then at the same time thefts start occurring, marble slabs etc. from the tombs.

To add to the confusion Matthew discovers that there seems to be a number of people who are secret devil worshippers, can this be possible among so many Holy men?

Michael and Matthew engage the sheriff and a number of his men to help solve the mysteries leading to some exciting action before all is solved. However, along the way they are shocked by the traitorous actions of some of the people they thought they could trust, is no one honest and reliable any more?

This latest story of Matthew Bartholomew and his friend Brother Michael lives up to expectations. It is full of twists and turns and many a red herring. The action builds nicely with a fast paced climax, especially as it takes place in a snow storm. So well described was it that it made me shiver!

Susannah Gregory certainly has a great talent for bringing the past alive and once again I see many of the characters in the book actually existed making it more interesting still. I also found it fascinating to learn that some of the events actually took place too.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

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.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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