Celia L. Grace – Saintly Murders (Die Heilerin und die Bruderschaft des Todes)


© St. Martins Press

Blurb:

Medieval physician Kathryn Swinbrooke is brought back to the town of Canterbury, this time to investigate a recent plague of rats. Whether or not their visitation is the result of the town’s moral or spiritual lack is unclear, but when miracles begin to surround the local beatified friar’s corpse Kathryn suspects that something more threatening is afoot. She soon discovers that the friar was in fact murdered, and what began as a search for the town’s ills becomes a desperate search for a killer. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ a historical crime novel
+ it is a book in a series, it might be better to read the others beforehand to understand the protagonist
+ interesting setting and premise of the story
– characters felt a little flat

My Opinion:

This is quite an old book and I don’t think it is even in print anymore. Or at least I only found it used on Amazon. I came across this audiobook in the library and since I really enjoyed Sam Thomas’ novel, I picked this up.

This is a relatively short novel and again it is a historical crime novel. Katherine Swinbrooke, who is a medieval physician or healer, is confronted with miracles surrounding the death of one of the friars. When she discovers that he was murdered, she begins her investigation which is lined with more deaths and secrets that are better not uncovered. Can Katherine find the true killer and can she evade his deadly grip?

The story was nice, well-paced, and short. I liked the setting and the premise of the novel. Still, I would not have minded if the story was a little longer and a bit more detailed. I felt occasionally rushed. I realized only after I finished listening to the book that this was the fifth book in the Katherine Swinbrooke series and I think that explains my difficulties with the story. The personal life of Katherine was always mentioned in between, but I was unable to really grasp why it was mentioned. Since I was missing the context and the previous stories, I was unable to properly comprehend and relate the information. Therefore, I might have missed some facts that could have been entertaining otherwise.

Though the crime story and the conspiracy that surrounded the murder were interesting and entertaining and made me enjoy the story, the characters felt rather flat. I could not relate to the main protagonist nor to the other characters. It was a little weird that she had so much power and was never once put in her place, while the female protagonist in Sam Thomas’s novel was constantly confronted with the limits due to her sex.

The writing was good, the historical facts were few, which was fine, and the premise of the story was good as well. I think this story could have taken place in many other settings and therefore the lack of historical facts was not noticeable or took attention away from the storyline.

Bottom Line:

All in all, it was good, yet lacked relatable and round characters.

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