Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sad News: The passing of author Ariana Franklin.

I've just learned the sad news from The Rap Sheet, that one of my favorite authors, Ariana Franklin, passed away on Thursday. This is such a shock. She was a wonderful writer. I love her historical mysteries featuring 12th century coroner and King's investigator, Adelia Aguilar. These are richly defined mysteries with echoes of horror and insidious doings which the brilliant Adelia and her close coterie of friends must usually solve before they, themselves, are betrayed or killed.

The enemies Adelia faces, brought to life so vividly by Franklin, often seem larger than life. The atmospheric trappings of the England of Henry II only enhance the inherent danger for a woman secretly commissioned to do a man's job in a perilous society where women had little value and no chance of being taken seriously as a doctor. Many of the historical details are eye-opening to say the least, though not always in a bad way. It was amazing to me to read just how much medical knowledge Adelia had (she'd been trained in Salerno) that the English didn't.

If you love great mysteries with a medieval setting, then these are the books for you.

I only wish there could have been more of them for us to read.
R.I.P. Diana Norman, aka Ariana Franklin. You will be missed.
There are four books in the Adelia Aguilar series:
  • Mistress of the Art of Death
  • The Serpent's Tale
  • Grave Goods
  • A Murderous Procession


  1. It is very sad Yvette. I have so far only read the first two books so will now save up the other two. I also have a WW1 mystery that she wrote called City of Shadows on my TBR and I will look forward to reading that too.

  2. Such sad news! I have Mistress of the Art of Death and am planning to read it this year. I've heard such wonderful things about her writing; it's always a shame when such amazing artists of their craft pass on. Thanks for passing the news on, Yvette. It's definitely a sad day. :(

  3. Bernadette: She was a terrific writer and will be greatly missed. Wow. I was shocked. I still am. I finished reading the last of the Adelia books A MURDEROUS PROCESSION in 2010 (my favorite, I think, though I loved them all) and wishing for more. I guess we'll have to supply our own ending for a certain character. (You have to read the book.)

  4. Coffe and a Book Chick: At least writers live forever in their work. That's some consolation. These are four amazing novels, each one better than the previous. An amazing quartet. I'm surprised no one's thought (at least I haven't read anything about it) to make a movie about Adelia. She would be a great main character for someone like Rachel Weisz.

    I also read CITY OF SHADOWS which has to do with Anastasia, the daughter of Czar Nicholas who supposedly escaped the massacre in the basement by the Lenin gang. You might like that one as well. Completely different from the Adelia Aguilar books. Franklin could write.
    What a loss.

  5. This is an absolutely wonderful series and I was SO looking forward to the next installment. What terribly sad news!

  6. mjoy: I know. I wanted to see what happened next to the Captain. Maybe Ariana was working on something new? Probably not. She was very ill. So damned sad.

  7. It's sad to lose a favorite author. It will make her published books all the more precious.

  8. Pat: Yes, especially when it comes out of the blue. Her books are wonderful. At least we have those. ;)

  9. I am shocked and saddened by this news as well! I've only just discovered her this past year and still have two more books to go in the series. What a shame - a great loss to the literary world, she will be missed!

  10. I have not yet read Ariana Franklin's books, but just bought the first for a friend's birthday. Given that this friend was a medical professional for decades, and that she likes historical mysteries and books about women sleuths, she'd like it. (And I look forward to borrowing it.)

    But I am very sad to hear about Franklin's passing. That is so tragic.

    Yes, authors live on in their writing, but the loss is still sad.

  11. Julie: At least you still have two more books of hers to read. Have you read her standalone book, CITY OF SHADOWS? You might like that one as well. It has to do with Czar Nicholas's daughter, Anastasia and what might have happened (or not) to her after the basement massacre.

    Such sad news.

  12. Kathy: YOu should read her books. They are really wonderful. Full of fascinating tidbits and dark, murderous doings.

    I was so shocked when I read of her death.

  13. You'll know by now that I learned from you that Ariana Franklin had died. I can recommend her even for readers who don't normally read historical fiction. She makes a plausible case for her unusual heroine.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  14. Peter: Thanks for dropping by. We all loved Ariana Franklin around here. The only good thing to be said about a writer's death is that their books live on. It is a form of immortality.

  15. It's been a while since Franklin's passing, but I think I've reread her series three times since. I had heard that, at the time of her passing, she was finishing a novel (some sources said the family had hoped to publish posthumously). However, since it's been three years and not a peep about this, I'm afraid that might have been wistful rumors. I shall miss Adelia and can only surmise how the cliffhanger would have ended. Perhaps that is best as my imagination can take me in all sorts of directions.


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