Susanna Gregory: A Bone of Contention

Matthew Bartholomew mystery #3, and by this time it’s fair to say that Gregory had found her groove. The plot still comes across as mighty complex, but it’s more tightly-constructed than in the first two books — also, I’ve learned (at last) not to get too caught up in individual incidents but, for all their intricate detail, try to see those in terms of where they fit into the broad outline (and not get overly bothered if I can’t make out a given event’s place in the broad outline immediately).

As far as this book’s struggle between town and gown goes, it’s at least partly built on the same sort of envy and rivalries that are still easy enough to imagine even today, albeit minus the lethal side effects of the riots (or so one hopes), and definitely minus the squabble over allegedly saintly relics. At heart, though, this is a tale of lethal vengeance, and of one man’s ruthless deceit and his exploitation of his own status as a veritable superstar — and in that in particular respect, the book feels absolutely timeless.

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