GRAVE GOODS by Ariana Franklin

: Read: Sept 9 - 21
Category: Follower

This murder mystery, set in 1176, is the third installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series. As in the previous books were are introduced to the mystery first then the characters who will solve it.

In 1176, Glastonbury Abbey is virtually destroyed by a fire and during the efforts to clear the debris, a box is revealed with two skeletons who are widely believed to be Arthur and Guinevere. The superstitions surrounding Arthur have been reeking havoc for Henry II in Wales so he sends for Adelia Aguilar - a Mistress of the Art of Death (forensic pathologist of the age) currently living in England, at a time when she is fleeing her old home and has just joined Lady Emma of Wolvercote's entourage. Dragged away from Emma, Adelia is rushed to Henry in Wales only to receive instructions to return to where she was, to determine if the skeletons are truly Arthur and Guinevere.

Upon her return to the area of Glastonbury, Adelia is plunged into a threefold mystery - determining the identity of the skeletons, discovering the origin of the fire, and finding Lady Wolvercote and the rest of her entourage who seem to have vanished into the mist.

What Adelia and Rowley (her old lover and currently the Bishop of the region) discover about all the mysteries is revealed through fast-paced dialogue and strong character growth which spurs the reader with a sharp and concentrated sense of time and place. The reader can actually sense the awe that the characters feel.

The multiple mysteries are interwoven so ingeniously that the reader just goes along with the flow as Adelia is buffeted from one question to another until all the answers are exposed for all to see. I really liked this edition of the series because it seemed to tie the other books together and holds true more closely to the premise of the first book. I will definitely keep an eye out for the next one.

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