Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel

A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton - Book 2) by Melvin R. Starr

Publication Date: February 2010
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller
ISBN-13: 9781854249548
ISBN: 1854249541

(Received for review from Kregel Publications)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:

Purchase at Coffee Tree Books
Borrow from The Rowan County Public Library

Author's Website:
Mel Starr Fan Club Facebook page: Click HERE!
Excerpt: Click HERE!

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Alan, the beadle of the medieval manor of Bampton, had gone out at dusk to seek those who might violate curfew. When the following morning, he had not returned home, his young wife Matilda sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor.

Two days later Alan's corpse was discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St. Andrew's Chapel. His throat had been torn out - his head was half severed from his body - and his face, hands and forearms were lacerated with deep scratches.

Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listened carefully to the coroner's surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet... if so, why was there so little blood?


A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel is The Second Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton written by Mel Starr. Starr a writer from Michigan has been a history teacher and a student of medieval England for many years. His in depth descriptions of both medieval customs of the time and complex medical procedures performed in the time period are very authentic and believable. Readers who came to love the bumbling surgeon Hugh de Singleton in the first book, The Unquiet Bones will not be disappointed with this one.

Hugh is back and now Master of the manor in Bampton. Not only is he a surgeon but also the bailiff and when Alan the beadle doesn't return home after a routine check of the castle, Hugh is on the case. When the beadles body turns up in the bushes outside St. Andrew's Chapel, everyone starts to speculate about what could have happened. The wounds on the body make some think it was an animal, a wolf, but Hugh is unconvinced. And so the adventure begins. Across England and into the cosmopolitan city of Oxford. With signs of poaching, infidelity and who knows what else on the wind, Hugh must solve the case quickly.

I found the second book in the Hugh de Singleton series even better than the first book. Mel Starr's descriptions of 14th century England are second to none. He makes the setting almost take on the form of a separate character in the story. This was a traumatic time period in English history and it is easy to see that the writer had studied and done a remarkable amount of research to create this atmosphere. His descriptions of Alan's wounds sound like that of a doctor instead of a history teacher, I was quite impressed.

Hugh is still the same character from the first book, very likable and far from perfect. He doesn't always come up with the answer quickly or painlessly but eventually Hugh gets to the point and figures out each clue. I really enjoyed reading how he worked through the clues, sometimes getting it right and other times... not so much! It was quite comical in some area's of the book, but yet I knew he would get it even if he took the long road around.

This is a great addition to the Hugh de Singleton series and I think a wide range of readers will be interested in it. From mystery fans to historical fiction readers.

A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!


Mystica said...

The series is new to me. I like the storyline of this book.

dollycas aka Lori said...

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Ryan said...

This looks like an interesting series. I've been away from thrillers for a while (I recently checked out a great multi-generational crime novel called Blood, Money, Power by Michele Marie Tate) and now I'm getting back into the genre. Thanks for your recommendation!