A Poisonous Plot: The Twenty First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew

A Poisonous Plot: The Twenty First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew - Susanna Gregory I have a lot of books on my to-read list so it is rare that I am "waiting" for a book to come out. However, I find myself growing excited when I hear a new Matthew Bartholomew novel is due for release, and for the first time in quite a few years, found myself dropping it straight to the top of my read pile on release.

Gregory does not disappoint. The twenty-first entry in the ongoing mystery series and Matthew is showing every bit of the wear from the previous books, completely disillusioned with love and personal matters but holding strong to the core of him, the love of healing.

Cambridge is once again nearly aflame as the always-simmering tensions between town and university are once again encouraged, this time by a devious and remarkably clever antagonist. With half of the university pushing to decamp from cambridge for the fens, and a large portion of the town calling for exactly the same thing, everyone is at each other's throats. Add to this a strange disease running rampant through the town, an arrogant but incompetent doctor recently arrived, a noxious dyeworks opened in the city by Bartholemew's own sister, Michaelhouse's near financial ruin and a steadily increasing bodycount, and the stage is set for what could well be the end of the university, if not the entire town.

With such high stakes, and tempers flaring all over Cambridge, not even priests are safe from attack.

There is a lot to love in this book for fans of the rest of the series, with one stand-out being a more visible role being played by Dickon, the Sheriff's wild son, now ten years old and dying his face red like a devil, with his hair fashioned into two tiny horns. He patrols by day with his father, terrifying scholar and townsman alike.

Anyone who is a fan of historical crime novels will love this book, though if you've never read any of this series before do yourself a favour and begin, as they say, at the beginning. The journey is worth it.