Of Lofts and Lunches, with an historical novelist advent reveal thrown in

A little late in the day for the advent box today as I have been ‘after lunch’ speaking about Christmas traditions. The great thing about this is that a) you get to eat as a bonus and b) with a bit of luck half the audience have been imbibing with their meal so aren’t concentrating on what you are saying. It was a bit of a challenge as the acoustics in the room weren’t of the best and as I began to speak I realised that the winter lurgy had stolen the fortissimo range of my voice and I was without amplification. I managed to sound deep and interesting for the duration and it seemed to go well.

Morian Helmet.JPGYes I know that it is now several hours after lunch. I have been succumbing to sales patter. I am officially barmy. I seem to have let myself in for helping a friend move house at the weekend and then emptying my loft between now and Tuesday in order to have it insulated. My loft contains more than my house, much of this is items like suits of armour that you can hardly pile on top of each other, oh and did I say I am not supposed to lift anything. I have a bad feeling that this could all go horribly wrong.

Today’s historical author is Susanna Gregory. She is responsible for two series of books. Strangely it is not her seventeenth century Thomas Chaloner mystery books to which I am drawn but those set in fourteenth century Cambridge. These feature doctor and university lecturer Matthew Bartholomew who, together with his sidekick Brother Michael, solves crimes in and around Cambridge. A quick word of warning, if you get hooked on this series, there are already more than twenty that will find their way on to your ‘to be read‘ list. Many of the characters actually lived in Medieval Cambridge, although often little is known about them and Gregory has been liberal with their exact dates. The university setting and the medical slant to the Matthew Bartholomew books appeal to me and I am a sucker for a series that I can get my teeth into. If you enjoy a book it is always good to know that there are twenty more in the pipeline. Unlike some authors, this prodigious output has not become formulaic. Although you are pretty sure that at least one and probably several, people are going to have died in mysterious circumstances and that Matthew is going to fail to get the girl AGAIN each book has its unique flavour. Susanna also writes, together with Beau Riffenburgh, as Simon Beaufort.

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