The Twelfth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
In the bitter Matthew Bartholomew and his book-bearer Cynric accompany Brother Michael to Lincoln, so that Michael can be installed as a cathedral canon. Bartholomew is also on a personal quest, continuing his search for the beautiful Matilde.
The Michaelhouse men find Lincoln an unholy place, riven by discord, with a Bishop seemingly unable to control the wild behaviour of his cathedral clergy, and with a sheriff happily accepting bribes to give him, if not Lincoln’s citizens, a peaceful life. They also find murder, and the reappearance of a holy relic that had been stolen more than twenty years earlier.
Against their will, the Cambridge scholars are drawn into investigating the unnatural deaths, and the circumstances surrounding the provenance of the so-called Hugh Chalice, endangering both their lives and their souls as they are caught up in the maelstrom of corruption that courses through the ancient city. And through it all, Bartholomew continues his desperate hunt for the elusive Matilde …
The Fourteenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
It is ten years since the Black Death reaped its harvest at Cambridge. Now, in the stifling , an even more sinister visitor is at large. He claims that when the plague comes again he will save people. Last time God failed, next time the Devil will succeed.
Some people easily believe the message from the Devil’s disciple, a black-hooded figure known only as the Sorcerer. Some need a little more persuasion and for those he leaves reminders of his powers – manuals on sorcery, a hand severed from a corpse, desecrated graves. But there are stubborn sceptics in the town, and physician Matthew Bartholomew is one of them. He suspects that a more identifiable form of devilry is involved, one that has reared its head in the affairs of the town and the university before, when disputes break out between religious orders, when quarrels rage over legacies, and where mysteries linger over clerics who have fled the country.
It is in Matthew’s own – and urgent – interests to unmask the Sorcerer, for there is a belief at large that this devil’s agent is none other than Matthew himself. He is, after all, a man who is no stranger to death, who has a self-professed interest in the illegal art of anatomy, and who has an impressive array of deadly methods at his disposal. And as well as the Sorcerer’s activities threatening Matthew’s reputation, it rapidly becomes clear they threaten his life…
The Thirteenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
It is the year , and the University at Cambridge is in a sorry state.
Careful examination of the University’s finances reveals serious shortfalls. Meanwhile, the town’s landlords are demanding huge rent increases for the rooms they lease to students, and the plague has left the Colleges with scant money to pay for vital repairs to their walls and roofs. But for Matthew Bartholomew, Fellow of Michaelhouse, there is another problem nearer much closer to his heart: the arrival of a certain Richard Arderne, a healer with ‘magical’ powers, who claims to be able to awaken the dead.
But Arderne cannot banish death entirely. Not when it arrives in the form of murder. Is the killer a rapacious landlord? Or the healer himself, with his spells and incantations?
Against a backdrop of rivalry between town and gown, of gambling dens and missing persons, and of dissent between the Franciscans and Dominicans, Bartholomew and his colleague Brother Michael must find the viper in the University’s midst before the entire town descends into anarchy. And before Bartholomew and Michael themselves are killed…
The Eleventh Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
On St Scholastica’s Day inOxford explodes in one of the most serious riots in its turbulent history.
Fearing for their lives, the scholars flee the city, and some choose to travel to Cambridge, believing that the killer of one of their colleagues is to be found in the rival University town. Within hours of their arrival, one member of their party dies, followed quickly by a second. Alarmed, they quickly begin an investigation to find the culprit.
Brother Michael is incensed that anyone should presume to conduct such enquiries in his domain without consulting him, and is dismissive of the visitors’ insistence that Cambridge might be harbouring a murderer. He is irked, too, by the fact that Matthew Bartholomew, his friend and Corpse Examiner, appears to be wholly distracted by the charms of the town’s leading prostitute.
The Ninth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
A drunken attempt at blackmail by Norbert Tulyet, an errant scholar who has enrolled in the Franciscan Hostel of Ovyng Hall, leaves him dead on that foundation’s doorstep. And in St Michael’s church, a second unidentified body holds an even greater mystery.
For Matthew Bartholomew, the murders would be difficult to solve at a normal time of year, but now he has a further serious distraction to deal with. Philippa Abigny, to whom he was once betrothed, has returned to Cambridge with the man she left him for, the merchant Sir Walter Turke.
Bartholomew hopes that the couple’s stay will be brief, but he is about to be sorely disappointed…
The Tenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
Cambridge, February 1355
As the temperature gradually rises in the Fenland town, the passions of its citizens also emerge from the winter chill. A skeletal hand has become an object of veneration, viewed by some as a holy relic and capable of curing all ills, but thought by others to have come from a local simpleton. Meanwhile, two well-born citizens, who had been convicted of murder, have received the King’s Pardon, and have now returned to Cambridge showing no remorse for their actions, but ready to confront those who helped to convict them.
And there is a dispute between the local mills, regarding which should have the right to distribute the King’s corn. When Matthew Bartholomew is summoned to one of the mills where two people have been killed by nails rammed into their mouths, he and Brother Michael know exactly who to question. But as so often in the University city, nothing is as straightforward as it seems …
In 1325, the terrible legacy of the Black Death still hangs over Cambridge. Fears of a future outbreak drive people to seek protection in the power of holy relics, while the University is once more the scene for violent clashes between students and townsfolk. Matthew Bartholomew, Michaelhouse teacher and public physician, has a professional interest in order returning to the streets – his enormous practice of paupers means he does not have time to deal with a lot of injuries resulting from riots and mayhem.
With rumours spreading about the discovery of a skeleton reputed to belong to a local martyr, a skeleton that even the physician confirms as human, a young student’s brutal murder plunges the town into chaos, and Bartholomew must ask himself if the two corpses – and the rioting – are linked to something deeper than local enmities.
When suspicion falls on a respected University Principal and his scholars, Bartholomew’s investigation becomes the source of conflict within the academic community. And there are personal rivalries and painful memories of his own to be exhumed before a chilling conspiracy can emerge, a nightmare of murder and revenge so terrifying that the whole town could be tainted with complicity.
The Sixth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
Cambridge 1353. It is a damp, gloomy November day, and the body by the River Cam is just the beginning of the intrigue in store for Michaelhouse.
Physician Matthew Bartholomew recognises the deceased as the book-bearer of the Michaelhouse Fellow John Runham. The death looks like suicide – and Runham’s servant was well known for his black moods – but before Bartholomew can reach a definite conclusion, a second tragic incident occurs.
Meanwhile, at Michaelhouse, the Master announces his retirement. Everyone is astonished and dismayed – everyone, that is, except the ruthless Runham. Once he has contrived to have himself elected to the post, he moves to make his mark on the College: sacking the choir, building a courtyard the College cannot afford, and demanding that Bartholomew choose between his teaching and his medical work. But just as Bartholomew is agonising over such an impossible decision, the new Master is discovered dead …
The Fifteenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
Life is unsettled in Cambridge in the , and both Michaelhouse and its physician, Matthew Bartholomew, seem to have more than their fair share of misfortune. The College is unexpectedly short of funds, its Master is attacked, its prized possession, a pair of beautiful silver chalices known as the Stanton Cups, have been stolen, and after a woman dies in premature labour Bartholomew discovers that some medicinal potions have disappeared from his store, including pennyroyal, a drug known for inducing miscarriage.
It is to the College finances that Bartholomew first turns his attention, and he discovers that the treasurer, Wynewyk, has been fiddling the books, particularly in regard to goods purchased from some tradesmen in Suffolk. Bartholomew, who looks upon Wynewyk as an honourable friend, is appalled, but before he can confront him with the evidence of fraud, Wynewyk dies in bizarre and unexplained circumstances.
Brother Michael and Bartholomew, instructed to reclaim the missing funds, discover that the money has become entangled in a legal wrangle over property rights, and that one of the merchants is the husband of the woman who died in labour, along with her unborn child whose birth would have substantially altered the outcome of the dispute. In horror, Bartholomew recognises her death was most likely murder and that his missing preparation of pennyroyal was to blame.
Who stole it? Who in the college has connections to the disputed land in Suffolk? And if Wynewyk proves to be a rogue, who can Bartholomew trust within what he had assumed was the security of Michaelhouse?
The Nineteenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
Matthew Bartholomew doesn't want to travel to Peterborough in , but his friendship with the lovely Julitta Holm has caused a scandal in Cambridge, so he has no choice. He is one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, charged to discover what happened to Peterborough's abbot, who went for a ride one day and has not been seen since. When the Commissioners arrive, they find the town in turmoil. A feisty rabble-rouser is encouraging the poor to rise up against their overlords, the abbey is at war with a powerful goldsmith and his army of mercenaries, and there are bitter rivalries between competing shrines. One shrine is dedicated to Lawrence de Oxforde, a vicious felon who was executed for his crimes, but who has been venerated after miracles started occurring at his grave. However, it is not long before murder rears its head, and its first victim is Joan, the woman in charge of Oxforde's tomb.
The Twenty First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
This simmering tension threatens to break into violence when a well-known tradesman is found dead in one of the colleges. Matthew Bartholomew knows he was poisoned but cannot identify the actual substance, never mind the killer. He also worries that other illnesses and deaths may have been caused by the effluent from his sister's dye works.
Torn between loyalties to his kin and to his college, he fears the truth may destroy both his personal and professional life, but he knows he must use his skills as a physician to discover the truth before many more lose their lives entirely.
The Twentieth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
In the summer of 1358
As well as the theft of irreplaceable items from Michaelhouse, which threatens its very survival, a new foundation, Winwick Hall, is causing consternation amongst Matthew's colleagues. The founder is an impatient man determined that his name will grace the University's most prestigious college. He has used his wealth to rush the construction of the hall, and his appointed Fellows have infiltrated the charitable Guild founded by Stanmore, in order to gain the support of Cambridge's most influential citizens on Winwick's behalf. A perfect storm between the older establishments and the brash newcomers is brewing when the murder of a leading member of the Guild is soon followed by the death of one of Winwick's senior Fellows. Assisting Brother Michael in investigating these fatalities leads Matthew into a web of suspicion, where conspiracy theories are rife but facts are scarce and where the pressure from the problems of his college and his family sets him on a path that could endanger his own future...
The Sixteenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
There is unease in the chill of Cambridge in . A thief is at work in the houses of the wealthy, colleges are vying with each other for funds and academic recognition, and the shrine of St Simon Stock is attracting both pilgrims and those who prey on them – charlatans peddling fake relics and dubious pardons.
When the body of one of the town’s richest taverners is found in Michaelhouse it at first seems his death was accidental, but when Bartholomew views the corpse he knows it is murder. There is no shortage of suspects to investigate, from the tenants who have publicly argued with the victim to his merrily ‘grieving’ widow, but the trail has been blurred by someone who is using the discovery of the body to try and discredit the college.
Against a background of rising tension between the colleges and the increasing audacity of the thief, Bartholomew and Brother Michael hunt desperately for the proof that will unmask the identity of the killer and reveal the motivation of someone determined to ruin both Michaelhouse and all those connected to it…
The Seventeenth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew
In , the College of Michaelhouse at the University of Cambridge is in desperate need of extra funds – again. A legacy from the Archbishop of York, of a parish church close to that city, promises to be a welcome source of income. However, there has been another claim to its ownership, and it seems that the only way to settle the dispute is for a deputation from Michaelhouse to travel north.
Matthew Bartholomew is among the small party that arrives in the bustling city, where the increasing wealth of the merchants is unsettling the established order, and where a French invasion is an ever-present threat to its port. He is both impressed and appalled by what he finds in the teeming streets, the magnificent buildings and the behaviour of its citizens, but he and his colleagues are soon distracted by learning that several of the Archbishop’s executors have died in unexplained circumstances, and that the codicil naming Michaelhouse as a beneficiary cannot be found.
As they search the Minster’s chaotic library and evade the determination of those who believe the legacy should go elsewhere, it seems that even God is against their mission, sending a spring storm of such biblical proportion that the river waters surrounding the great city threaten its very fabric. But it is human wrath that is likely to spill their blood…
The Seventh Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew.
Cambridge, March 1354
It is a time of division and denomination at the great University. The Carmelites and the Dominicans are at theological loggerheads, so much so that the more fanatical members are willing to swap rational judgement for a deadlier form of debate. And no sooner is Carmelite friar Faricius found stabbed than a Junior Proctor is found hanging from the walls of the Dominican Friary.
What was Faricius doing out when he had not been given permission to wander? How are the nuns at the nearby convent of St Radegund involved? And who is brokering trouble between Cambridge and its rival University at Oxford? The longer their enquiries go on, the more Bartholomew and Michael realise that the murders are less to do with high-minded academic principles, and more to do with far baser instincts.