Today’s featured mystery is another from the Susanna Gregory Matthew Bartholomew series, A Poisonous Plot. The twenty-first book in the series, this story takes place entirely in Cambridge after the death of Matthew’s brother-in-law and revolves around tension between the various colleges and rioting over Matthew’s sister’s efforts to dye her own cloth rather than sending it out to be done, resulting in a dreadful stench in a respectable area of the town.
It is Hallow-Tide and time for a special debate called the disceptatio in which Michaelhouse is to take part against a new foundation called Zachery Hostel. There is great rivalry involved and members of the committee cannot agree on a topic — just as well since some members of the committee plan to give advance notice to the members of their debating team. Meanwhile, a new resident doctor has joined Zachery Hostel although his credentials are not the best — several of his prominent patients have died recently despite, or possibly because of, his care. People in the town and colleges are also dying (no pun intended) of poisoning as diagnosed by Matt, and townsfolk, students, and masters alike are inclined to blame Edith’s new dye works. Fights are breaking out everywhere and Michael’s hands are full trying to keep the peace while he and Matthew try to solve the mysterious death of a well-known brewer.
As always, Gregory evokes all the sights, smells, and bustle of medieval Cambridge and leads the reader on a merry and convoluted chase as clues and motives harry off in one direction after another, and, as usual, the mastermind is the last person you would suspect. Very much a ‘comfort’ read for me, usually devoured in a day. * * * * *
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mentioning my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post.