So anyway, I was given a copy of,"Harry Potter and the Order of something something", you know, the one the new movie is named after. An excellent unabridged 26 hrs. about a character I didn't know I cared a thing about. Very full of angst, that kid. However, what I missed most at it's conclusion was the old English accent of the narrator and drawl of strange names and new words that seem terribly overused after you've heard them more than twice in what amounts to 500...600+ pages of writing. I must be hard to please. Anyhoo, it took a lot of research, a few stand-in podcasts and even a couple of Ray Bradbury radio clips and short Sherlock Holmes stories before I found my next "old English" fix. I found it though, A mere 13 hr. commitment, short based on my previous experience with that Potter kid, to "Mistress in the Art of Death, " by Ariana Franklin. Truly excellent.
I can only describe it, in audio drama terms, as CSI: Cambridge, England circa 12th century. A female doctor, who "talks to the dead," from Salerno, Italy is sent to Cambridge, by request of King Henry II, to clear the name of the local Jewish community as "baby-eaters", basically. It had all the layers required of a good whodunit; a couple of worldly pilgrimages, deception of female vocation, at least one ax-wielding eunuch, much historical reference to religious bigotry, freaks in antlers dancing around womb-like chalk caves....oh yeah, it was all there. But what I will miss most, now that it's plot too has neatly rounded to conclusion, is hearing all the new names and the new words that will, no doubt, be stuck in my head like a tune on the radio. Words like, "Plantagenet", "Sir Rowely," "S-a-l-e-r(roll on tongue)-n-ooo." Words I suddenly feel the need to look up, curious to know why I didn't know them(better, in some cases) before, exactly as if I'd read them from a page in the book....