Thanks to William Morrow for the free copy in exchange for my honest review
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN – Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman (Releasing October 15th, 2020)
This is the final novel in the Mistress of the Art of Death series
“MEDIEVAL-MYSTERY WRITING AT ITS BEST.” (‘NEW YORK DAILY NEWS’)
AT LONG LAST, THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED FINAL INSTALLMENT IN ARIANA FRANKLIN’S POPULAR MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH HISTORICAL MYSTERY SERIES.
England. 1191. After the death of her friend and patron, King Henry II, Adelia Aguilar, England’s vaunted Mistress of the Art of Death, is living comfortably in retirement and training her daughter, Allie, to carry on her craft – sharing the practical knowledge of anatomy, forensics, and sleuthing that catches murderers. Allie is already a skilled healer, with a particular gift for treating animals. But the young woman is nearly 20, and her father, Rowley, Bishop of Saint Albans, and his patron, the formidable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, have plans to marry Allie to an influential husband. . .if they can find a man who will appreciate a woman with such unusual gifts.
When a friend in Cambridgeshire falls ill, Allie is sent to Ely, where her path will cross with Lord Peverill, a young aristocrat who would be a most suitable match for the young healer. But when Allie arrives, all is chaos. A village girl has disappeared – and she’s not the first. Over the past few months, several girls from the villages surrounding Ely have vanished. When the body of one of the missing is discovered, Allie manages to examine the remains before burial. The results lead her to suspect that a monstrous predator is on the loose. Will her training and her stubborn pursuit of the truth help her find the killer. . .or make her the next victim?
A richly detailed, twisty-thriller, ‘DEATH AND THE MAIDEN’ is historical mystery at its finest – and a superb final episode in Ariana Franklin’s much-loved, much-acclaimed series.
My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars
This was my introduction to the series and to these authors, and I will say that while I did enjoy it, I didn’t feel like I was too lost having not read the other four books in the series. I do think my connection to the characters would have been better had I read them, but I think that’s the case with any series. This is a good blend of mystery and historical fiction!
Adelia is renowned for her knowledge of anatomy, medicine, forensics, and has her ways of sleuthing in order to solve mysteries involving murderers. However, as she nears retirement, she is beginning to pass on all of her knowledge to her daughter, Allie, to carry on her legacy. After an injury, Adelia sends Allie off on her own when a friend falls ill. In the little town Allie notices disappearances of young women and is determined to find out what is happening.
The pacing felt a little off to me at times just because of some of the language used in the book. Not that it’s bad to have dialogue and different vocabulary to fit the time period the book is set in, but there were times where it kind of slowed down the pacing for me or felt oddly placed. While I enjoyed the mystery and getting to know the characters there were a couple parts where there was a lull for me and I think the ending will be a little predictable for those that frequent the mystery genre.
Overall, I did like this book a lot. I enjoyed meeting Adelia and Allie and seeing the mystery unfold. After reading a few other reviews, I think it would be smart to go back and read some of the other books in the series to get to know Adelia better and see her in action. If you like historical fiction and a good mystery, then I think this would be perfect for you.