In London in 1663, rebellion is in the air. Thomas Chaloner, spy for the King's intelligence service, has just returned from thwarting a planned revolt in Dublin, but he soon realizes that England's capital is no haven of peace. Ordered to investigate the shooting of a beggar during a royal procession, he soon learns that the man is not a vagrant, but someone with links to the powerful Company of Barber-Surgeons. Meanwhile, Chaloner's master, the Earl of Clarendon, is locked in a deadly feud with the Earl of Bristol, and an innocent man is about to be hanged in Newgate. In a desperate race against time, Chaloner must find a way to protect Clarendon, track down a murderer, and save an innocent man from the executioner's noose.
London swelters in a heatwave in the summer of 1664, and in the corridors of power the temperature is equally high as an outbreak of war with the Dutch threatens to become a reality, in the sixth Chaloner mystery In the dilapidated surroundings of the Savoy, a delegation from the government in the Netherlands is gathered in a last ditch attempt to secure peace between the two countries. Thomas Chaloner, active in Holland during Cromwell's time, is horrified at the violent aggression and hatred shown to the Dutch by ordinary Londoners, but is more worried by the dismissive attitude with which they are greeted by the King's ministers and officials--he has experienced the futilities of war at first hand and has no wish to witness another. When the body of his former brother-in-law is found in the Thames, Chaloner discovers the dead man has left enigmatic clues to a motivation for his murder. These clues may be linked to a plot to steal the crown jewels, or to a conspiracy to ensure that no peace is secured between the two nations. Whichever it proves to be, Chaloner knows he has very little time to decipher the pointers left to him.
It is 1392, and Matthew Bartholomew, physician to Michaelhouse College, is called to examine some mysterious bones found in the King's Ditch. The next day he is called to the Ditch again--a student has been found dead there. Meanwhile, there is unrest in the town, and the strange disappearance of Dominica, the former lover of the dead student. Are these events connected? Then a skeletal hand is found in the Ditch, hailed by townsfolk as the final remains of local martyr Simon d'Ambrey, and hence a holy relic. When Bartholomew finds that the hand is wearing a ring apparently identical to a pair that were worn by Dominica and her ex-lover, and now missing, he knows that his investigative skills are called for.
Thomas Chaloner, just returned from a clandestine excursion to Spain and Portugal on behalf of the Queen, finds London dank and grey under leaden skies. Although he has only been away for a short while, he finds many things changed, including the government slapping a tax on printed newspapers. Handwritten news reports escape the duty, and the rivalry between the producers of the two conduits of news is the talk of the coffeehouses, with the battle to be first with any sort of intelligence escalating into violent rivalry. And it seems that a number of citizens who have eaten cucumbers have come to untimely deaths. It is such a death which Chaloner is despatched to investigate; that of a lawyer with links to "the Butcher of Smithfield," a shady trader surrounded by a fearsome gang of thugs who terrorize the streets well beyond the confines of Smithfield market. Chaloner doesn't believe that either this death or the others are caused by a simple vegetable, but to prove his theory he has to untangle the devious means of how news is gathered and he has to put his personal safety aside as he tries to penetrate the rumor mill surrounding the Butcher of Smithfield and discover his real identity.
London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to leave Charles II's government with no means of paying for the nation's defence. Amid the tension, Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Dick Wheler, one of the few goldsmith-bankers to have survived the losses that have driven others to bankruptcy - or worse. At the same time, a French spy staggers across the city, carrying the plague from one parish to another. Chaloner's foray into the world of the financiers who live in and around Cheapside quickly convinces him that they are just as great a threat as the Dutch, but their power and greed thwart him at every turn. Meanwhile, the plague continues to spread across the city, and the body count from the disease and from the fever of avarice starts to rise alarmingly . . .
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient means has fled the plague-ridden city, its half-deserted streets echoing to the sound of bells tolling the mounting number of deaths. Those who remain clutch doubtful potions to ward off the relentless disease and dart nervously past shuttered buildings, watchful for the thieves who risk their lives to plunder what has been left behind.At Chelsea, a rural backwater by the river, with fine mansions leased to minor members of the Court avoiding the capital, there are more immediate concerns: the government has commandeered the theological college to house Dutch prisoners of war and there are daily rumours that those sailors are on the brink of escaping. Moreover, a vicious strangler is stalking the neighbourhood.Thomas Chaloner is sent to investigate the murder of the first victim, an inmate of a private sanatorium known as Gorges. There have been thefts there as well, but the few facts he gleans from inmates and staff are contradictory and elusive. He realises, though, that Gorges has stronger links to the prison than just proximity, and that the influx of strangers offers plenty of camouflage for a killer - a killer who has no compunction about turning on those determined to stop his murderous rampage.
The grim days of Cromwell are past. Freed from the structures of the Protectorate, London seethes with new energy, but many of its citizens have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe. His erstwhile employer recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall--and he is dead, purportedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Thomas volunteers to investigate his killing, but instead he is dispatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. There, he discovers not treasure, but evidence that, whomever is in power, greed and self-interest are uppermost in men's minds. And that his own life has no value to either side.
In the winter of 1353, torrential rains are spreading fever to the poor and making travel especially hazardous along the town's outlaw-infested roads. Then three members of the University die by drinking poisoned wine. College physician Matthew Bartholomew would rather not get involved in the investigation, but when his life is threatened, he stumbles on criminal activities that implicate friends, relatives, and colleagues-a deadly brew of evil intent.
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart laden with gunpowder explodes outside the General Letter Office, it is immediately clear that such an act is more than an expression of outrage at the inefficiency of the postal service. As intelligencer to the Lord Chamberlain, Thomas Chaloner cannot understand why a man of known incompetence is put in charge of investigating the attack while he is diverted to make enquiries about the poisoning of birds in the King's aviary in St James's Park. Then human rather than avian victims are poisoned, and Chaloner knows he has to ignore his master's instructions and use his own considerable wits to defeat an enemy whose deadly tentacles reach into the very heart of the government: an enemy who has the power and expertise to destroy anyone who stands in the way . . .
The University should have been delighted when an influential courtier decides to found a new College in Cambridge, but the older Colleges are jealous of the newcomer's ostentatious wealth, and the townsfolk bitterly resent yet another academic foundation thrust into their midst. Tensions between town and gown rise further still when physician Matthew Bartholomew snatches an unpopular felon from the jaws of death - an incident that coincides with a sudden increase in violent crime across the whole region. As the new College is about to receive the charter that will make it an official part of the University, an arrow flies through the air and kills the Junior Proctor. With the townsfolk and the scholars blaming each other for the murder, Bartholomew and his friend Brother Michael must find the culprit before the whole region erupts in a frenzy of recrimination and revenge.
Rumors of plague threaten Cambridge again, 10 years after the Black Death almost laid waste to the town. Neither the church nor its priests had defended people from the disease so now they turn elsewhere for protection: to pagan ritual and magical potions. It is a ripe atmosphere to be exploited by the mysterious Sorcerer, an anonymous magician whose increasing influence seems certain to oust both civil and church leaders from power. One murder, another unexplained death, a font filled with blood, a desecrated grave--all bear the hallmarks of the Sorcerer's hand, only the identity of the magician remains a mystery. A mystery which Matthew Bartholomew must solve before he loses his reputation . . . and his life.
In Cambridge in 1355, the colleges of the fledgling university are as much at odds with each other as they are with the ordinary townsfolk. This tension has recently been heightened by the return of two well-born murderers after receiving the King's pardon, showing no remorse but ready to confront those who helped convict them. And in the midst of this, Bartholomew the physician is called to the local mill to examine two corpses. It is almost a relief to be able to turn his back on the fractious town, but as always in Cambridge, everything is connected.
Christmas approaches in 1354 and the town is gripped by the worst blizzards in living memory. The weather has trapped many travellers in the town, including Matthew's erstwhile love, Philippa, and her wealthy husband. In some ways he is relieved to accept Brother Michael's orders to identify a man found dead in a nearby church. However, it soon comes to light that the man was Philippa's husband's servant, and soon her husband himself is found dead. Was it an accident, or a more sinister death?
Matthew Bartholomew's sixteenth adventure finds him racing to save the university When a wealthy benefactor is found dead in Michaelhouse, Brother Michael and Matthew Bartholomew must find the culprit before the College is accused of foul play. At the same time, Cambridge is plagued by a mystery thief who is targeting rich pilgrims. Moreover, pranksters are at large in the university, staging a series of increasingly dangerous practical jokes that are dividing scholars into bitterly opposed factions. Bartholomew and Michael soon learn that their various mysteries are connected, and it becomes a race against time to catch the killer-thief before the university explodes into a violent conflict that could destroy it forever.
In the summer of 1358 Matthew Bartholomew finds himself one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, sent north to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Abbot of Peterborough. He and his colleagues quickly learn that behind the beautiful façade of the Benedictine monastery there is a vicious struggle for power, and that not everyone would be happy to see the prelate's safe return. This unrest and discontent seems to have spread throughout the town, and there are bitter rivalries between competing shrines and the financial benefits of the relics they hold. One of these shrines is dedicated to Lawrence de Oxforde, a robber and murderer who was executed for his crimes, but who has been venerated ever since miracles started occurring at his grave. But when Bartholomew and his friend Brother Michael go to investigate, they find murder instead...
The latest episode in the popular Cambridge series of medieval mysteries, featuring the physician-cum-sleuth Matthew Bartholomew. Matthew Bartholomew doesn't want to travel to Peterborough in the summer of 1358, 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 Bishops Commissioners, charged to discover what happened to Peterboroughs 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 incharge of Oxfordes tomb.
It is February 1355, and Oxford has exploded in one of the most serious riots of its turbulent history. Fearing for their lives, the scholars flee the city, and some choose the University at Cambridge as their refuge. They don't remain safe for long, however--within hours of their arrival, two people have died. When Bartholomew and Brother Michael investigate the deaths, they uncover evidence that the Oxford riot was part of a carefully orchestrated plot. With the Archbishop of Canterbury about to honor Cambridge with a visitation, and a close colleague accused of a series of murders that Bartholomew is certain he didn't commit, the race is on to bring a ruthless killer to justice.
It is a gloomy November day, and a corpse is just the beginning of the intrigue. Matthew Bartholomew recognizes the deceased as the book-bearer of Michaelhouse Fellow John Runham. The death looks like suicide, but before Bartholomew can confirm it, there is a second tragedy. Meanwhile, at Michaelhouse itself, the Master announces his retirement, to everyone's surprise-everyone, that is, except the ruthless Runham, who is hastily elected. Runham demands that Bartholomew choose between his teaching and his medical work, but as Bartholomew is agonizing over his impossible decision, the new Master is discovered dead.
This is the 18th episode in the popular Cambridge series of medieval mysteries, featuring the physician-cum-sleuth, Matthew Bartholomew. It is drawing near to the end of term, and the University at Cambridge is in turmoil over the opening of a new Common Library. There is an attack on one of the masters at a meeting to discuss the matter, and a body is found floating in the pond in the library's garden on the eve of its opening. Meanwhile, there are rumors of a large force of dangerous smugglers lurking in the Fens. Aided by their friend Sheriff Tulyet, Bartholomew and Michael must thwart the invaders before the Feast of Corpus Christi the following week--to fail might mean the destruction of the town.
The ninth adventure for Chaloner sees the Restoration London spy foil a conspiracy In 1665 England faces war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumors of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sinking in the Thames of one of the largest ships in the navy, a disastrous tragedy that could very well have been caused by sabotage. As an experienced investigator, Thomas Chaloner knows that there are very few grains of truth in the shifting sands of the rumor-mill, but the loss of such an important warship and the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, in a brothel favored by the elite of the Palace of White Hall makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason. As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists. He suspects his masters are not particularly concerned by their amateur antics, and that the order for him to infiltrate the group is intended to distract him from uncovering some unsavory facts about Ferine and his courtly associates. Then, as he comes to know more about the Fifth Monarchists and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a puzzling number of connections--to both Ferine's murder and those involved with the defense of the realm. Connections that he must disentangle before it is too late to save the country.
The murder of a man in broad daylight on London Bridge is the first indication that the Earl of Clarendon's fears of a rebellion against the newly restored monarchy may be well-founded. His spy, Thomas Chaloner, suspects the assassin may be a member of a group dedicated to seeing the return of Puritanism, and at the same time he learns of a faction close to the King determined to bring back the old ways of the Roman Catholic Church. He discovers, too, that the killing on the Bridge is not the only assault committed there recently, and begins to decipher a link between the violence and the people who manage the Bridge and its tottering, ramshackle buildings. As he moves unobtrusively between White Hall, the elegant mansions along the Strand, and the heaving congestion on the only river crossing he becomes aware of an undercurrent of restlessness in the capital. And it soon becomes clear that the groups he is investigating are planning some extraordinary climax to achieve their separate aims on Shrove Tuesday, which gives him very little time to identify the ring-leaders and thwart their intentions.
This is the 17th episode in the popular Cambridge series of medieval mysteries featuring the physician-sleuth, Matthew Bartholomew. In 1358 the fledging college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge is in need of extra funds. A legacy from the Archbishop of York of a parish close to that city promises a welcome source of income. However, there has been another claim to its ownership and it seems the only way to settle the dispute is for a deputation from Michaelhouse to travel north. Matthew Bartholomew is among the small party which 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. But soon he and his colleagues learn that several of the Archbishop's executors have died in unexplained circumstances and that the codicil naming Michaelhouse as a beneficiary cannot be found.
Believers in the theory of nominalism have set some Cambridge colleges at the throats of those who believe them to be heretics, and Brother Michael, the Senior Proctor, is struggling to keep the peace. When a nominalist is murdered during a riot, Michael is certain he will find the killer among the Dominicans-but before he can act, his junior proctor, Walcote, is found hanged. Meanwhile, Matthew Bartholomew discovers evidence that leads to Michael himself. Unable to believe his lifelong friend could be capable of such acts, Bartholomew knows that the only way he can quiet his own conscience is to solve the murders himself, and the cause of murder is once more on the mind of Matthew Bartholomew . . . It is a time of division and denomination at the great university. The Carmelites and Dominicans are at theological loggerheads, so much so that the more fanatical are willing to swap rational argument for a far 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. Why was Faricius found outside his friary, when he was not permitted to leave? How are the nuns at St Radegund's involved? And who is negotiating between Cambridge and their great enemy, Oxford? The longer his inquiries go on, the more Matthew Bartholomew realises that the murders are less to do with high-minded principles, and more to do with far baser instincts.
Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. His master, the Earl of Clarendon, has sent him to Tangier to investigate a case of corruption. Chaloner will be glad to be home, to be reunited with his new wife, but the trivial reason for his recall exasperates him: the theft of material from the construction site of Clarendon's embarrassingly sumptuous new house just north of Piccadilly. Within hours of his return, Chaloner considers these thefts even more paltry as he is thrust into extra investigations involving threats of assassination, a stolen corpse and a scheme to frame the Queen for treason. Yet there are connections from them all which thread through the unfinished Clarendon House ...
"A Plague on Both Your Houses" introduces physician Matthew Bartholomew, whose unorthodox but effective treatment of his patients frequently draws accusations of heresy from his more traditional colleagues. Besides his practice, Bartholomew teaches medicine at Michaelhouse, part of the fledgling University of Cambridge. In 1348, the inhabitants of Cambridge live under the shadow of a terrible pestilence that has ravaged Europe and is traveling relentlessly towards England. Bartholomew, however, is distracted by the sudden and inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse, a death University authorities do not want investigated. His pursuit of the truth leads him into a complex tangle of lies and intrigue that forces him to question the innocence of his closest friends, even his family. And then the Black Death finally arrives.
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