Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr

✰✰✰✰ Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff, is back in the fourth installment of the series. Once again Master Hugh is overseeing activities in Bampton in the absence of Lord Gilbert. Hugh and his new bride, Kate, are just settling into married life when he is summoned to the apparent suicide of Thomas atte Bridge. Thomas had been found hanging from a tree with an overturned stool lying nearby.

It seems simple enough; however, Master Hugh is troubled by what he observes at the scene and suspects that a murder has been committed. Having wronged almost everyone in town at one time or another, it comes as no surprise that few mourn the death of atte Bridge. Indeed, Hugh finds that there is no shortage of villagers who would have wanted Thomas dead. Chief among the suspects is Master Hugh's old nemesis, John Kellet. Rumor has it that Kellet is a changed man, but Hugh finds this difficult to believe.

Although it would be easier to simply let the matter rest, Hugh struggles with his conscience and must decide whether to pursue a killer among his friends or not. Alone in his convictions with only the support of his new wife, Hugh must act before someone else gets hurt.

The Bottom Line: Unhallowed Ground: The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon is written in first person. The story unfolds in a chronicle written by Master Hugh. Hugh's writing exposes his thoughts as he searches for the murderer and does some soul searching. Author Mel Starr provides the reader with a fun puzzle and a fascinating look at medieval village life and medical practices.
This is an enjoyable, quick read that is perfect for the weekend. While it is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. However, I have enjoyed reading the series in order and watching Master Hugh grow in character and struggle with his faith. The book includes both a map and a glossary. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, cozies, and medieval mysteries. I'm looking forward the fifth installment of the series, The Tainted Coin.

Details: Unhallowed Ground: The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr. Paperback published by Monarch Books in 2011. 240 p. ISBN: 978-0857210586 Note: I received a copy of the book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.

No comments: