Book Review: A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory


A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory

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 travelling 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.

I am in two minds about this book – I do like a decent Mystery book, and have read much of my fair share of books set in the 13th – 15th centuries. The detail of the plague, and the fear of disease paralysing whole communities was good, and a novel tale on the story of this era, where people dont know about the spreading of germs and overall hygiene.

However, there seemed to be a cast of thousands, making if difficult to remember who has what relation to whom.   In some ways it had quite a modern feel about it = o cant give any examples as to what I mean……..

There are plenty of deaths, some as a result of the plague, but there’s one or more people around, who take their opportunity to murder members of the colleges. Matthew is confronted with the deaths and doesnt know who he can trust – can he even trust his sister, nephew or brother in law. There’s another thread running through the story about Matt’s girlfriend and her brother, a case of mistaken identity and money.



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