Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mary Malloy taps medieval world for murder most foul

Like Chaucer's Wife of Bath, Mary Malloy is an adventurous woman. She has hiked across England in the footsteps of the "Canterbury Tales" character and voyaged north to Spitsbergen, Norway, and in the South Seas.

A professor of maritime history at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole who also teaches museum studies at Harvard University, she balances her academic career with a lighter pursuit: writing mysteries.

Her newest, Paradise Walk (Leapfrog Press, 286 pages, $15.95), finds historian Lizzie Manning tracing the path of Chaucer's bawdy Wife of Bath. In the vein of Dan Brown's blockbuster, "The Da Vinci Code," "Paradise Walk" entwines fiction and history.

What begins for Lizzie as a research commission to find evidence of Alison the Weaver, who may have inspired Chaucer's character, becomes a quest riddled with intrigue and danger. Woven into this mystery with textile clues are the legends of King Arthur, the relics of St. Thomas Becket and King Henry VIII's brutal dissolution of the monasteries.

Click here to read this article from Cape Cod Online