#2: A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel
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Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Monarch Books
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
Availability: In Stock
Series: Chronicles OF Hugh De Singleton
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Alan, the beadle of the manor of Bampton, had gone out at dusk to seek those who might violate curfew. When, the following morning, he had stillnot returned home, his young wife Matilda sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor.
Two days later Alan's corpse is discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St. Andrew's Chapel. His throat has been torn out, his head half-severed from his body and his face, hands, and forearms lacerated with deep scratches.
Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listens carefully to the coroner surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet . . . if so, why is there so little blood?
"This skillfully woven story is a delight to read. The setting is exceptionally well crafted. Highly recommended."
-Davis Bunn, best-selling author
The unusual structure of the book makes for good reading. Starr surrounds the main plotline with many cultural side stories, making the book as much a picture of medieval times as it is a mystery. Starr has studied medieval surgery, as well as English law, geography, and history, so the detail given to the story is accurate and truly amazing. The main characters are well developed, and the minor characters bring interesting and sometimes funny aspects to the narrative. The relationship between the characters of the book is complicated but interwoven perfectly. The main character has a self-deprecating sense of humor, such as when, during a dancing festival, he explains why he avoids dancing. Hugh tells the reader that when he dances, it looks like a disjointed scarecrow coming to life, and he doesnt want to scare anyone.
The main characters are Hugh de Singelton, Alan, Henry atte Bridge, Thomas atte Bridge, and John Kellet. Hugh faces the dilemma of putting forth the effort to solve the death of Alan and the murder of Henry, the latter man being a very unpopular commoner. Eventually, Hugh solves the mystery by interesting and sometimes unorthodox methods. He will stop at nothing to reveal what happened to the two unfortunate victims, Alan and Henry.
Starr develops his characters outstandingly well. Even the minor characters have diverse personalities and interesting occupations. Hugh has an inquisitive and occasionally brash personality that sometimes gets him into trouble. He is also very observant about most everything, taking in minor details that most others overlook. The two villains of the book have shadowy personalities, which cause them to act strangely. They have certain talents that do not fit their occupations. The few women in the book serve their roles as housekeepers, but one is surprisingly romantic.
A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel left me feeling satisfied that I took the time to read it. If the book has one weakness, it is not well explained how Hugh became both a surgeon and a bailiff. Another observation is that the descriptions of Hughs surgical procedures are a little long winded and pretty graphic. The detail of the surgeries might not make all readers sickI personally dont mind bloodbut its worth warning parents about. Other than these two concerns, the book is a good story and hard to put down. The dialogue and flow of the story are great, and the characters are dynamic and complex. I would recommend this book to adults ages eighteen and older. Isaac Hamlin, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
shanfromcanCanadaAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A great medieval read with action, bad guys, comedy and moreFebruary 1, 2015shanfromcanCanadaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This author is new to me and I wasn't sure what to expect, but must say I was pleasantly surprised. This is the second book in the series "The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton" but is a great stand alone read...up until the last chapter! I don't enjoy books that leave you hanging but can see where the ending is leading into book three. Very effective writing. I am hooked.
This mystery, filled with an interesting bunch of characters, where things aren't as they seem to be, is written in 1365, begins with 5 pages in the glossary and contains a map. I must say I was a little intimidated but it didn't take long to get into the book, and want to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next.
Hugh is the right hand man of Lord Gilbert, and as such wears many hats, besides his profession of surgeon. He is working on the murder of one of their workers, but it is not an easy task. His searching and questions have stirred the pot and he himself is attacked by one, two or is it three others? And then another murder, and Hugh no further ahead on the first.
With all that is going on Hugh is able to keep his eyes on what and whom is important.
"This resolution cleared my mind, as did the flowering waters of the brook. I stopped on the bridge to watch the stream flow below me. The world might be a baffling place, full of wonder and discouragement, but the brook flowed on unchanging and predictable. God's constant in a mutable world." pg 107
Both the writer and Hugh have a good grasp of the Bible and I love the way Hugh brings it into his daily activities, and those going on around him. When he goes to visit Philip the baker and catches his wife in a rage, shrieking and shouting all kinds of less than lady like attacks on him. He leaves and comes back a little later and upon seeing Philip he thinks, "Solomon the wise wrote that a nagging wife was like water dripping endlessly. A shrieking wife must be a never-ending torrent. I had a brief thought that perhaps a wife was not an untarnished blessing after all, but the notion soon passed." pg. 132, 133
It's not just about others. 'During the mass Father read from the Epistle to the Romans: "Christ died for us while we were yet sinners." He lifted his eyes while he read and seemed to gaze at me. This passage I knew well. Perhaps I needed to be reminded that the Lord Christ died for Henry atte Bridge as well as for me. And to take his life was as great a sin as to murder King Edward. Perhaps not in the eyes of men, but if I wished to be weighed in God's balance and not be found wanting I must amend my ways and see men as God sees them." pg. 136
Hugh visits his mentor John Wyclif to share of his struggles, with the murders but also with his interest in the daughter of one of his patients, Kate. This man of God, is one with whom Hugh can share not only the spiritual, but so much more. The interactions are delightful and comical at times. And at others, quite in depth with regards to God's word.
"Habakkuk...a minor prophet not often studied. But I find all scripture profitable. It speaks to those who will listen." pg 181
There is so much to this story. love, greed, mistrust, blackmail and more and even if you have not read a medieval mystery before, pick it up, and see for yourself just how enjoyable it can be. A very well written novel, but be forewarned, like me, you just might be hooked.
I was given this book my bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review.
DeannaNEAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A Medieval mysteryJanuary 18, 2015DeannaNEAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel" is Mel Starr's second novel in his Hugh de Singleton series. Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of Bampton Manor tells the story of the mysterious death of Alan the Beadle and how he goes about solving his untimely death. I enjoyed the story as Master Hugh goes about looking for clues in the most unlikely of places. When his chief suspect is found murdered his investigation must take a different direction. I enjoyed the words and actions of the characters, a glossary was very helpful. The story was full of mystery, history, a little humor and a lot of head thumping with Master Hugh usually at the wrong end of the stick. I found it an enjoyable medieval mystery.
I was gifted a copy of A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel by The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) for my honest opinion which I have given.
MaggieMaGender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Keep up the great job, Mr Starr!February 22, 2013MaggieMaGender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5I get many books from the library but when Mr Starr comes out with his latest book I buy a copy.
He makes Medieval stories very interesting.
Cindy Loven4 Stars Out Of 5Middle Ages made interestingJanuary 18, 2011Cindy LovenQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Set in 1365, in a small English village, Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff for Lord Gilbert Talbot finds himself in the middle of several mysterious deaths and occurences. A dead beadle (manor officer in charge of curfew and other duties for the Lord) is the trigger to all the mystery that Hugh finds himself in the middle of. It looks like an attack by a wild animal, only there are several things that trigger Hugh's suspicions. The beadles shoes are missing, and he has a caved in spot on his skull, both acts that a wild animal attack would not produce.
Hugh's suspicions and nosing around nearly costs him his life, after an attack in the dark leaves him beaten and banged up, however in the light of day, it is realized that his attacker is dead. How that happens is beyond Hugh, because the last thing he heard, was his attacker telling someone else that Hugh was still alive.
Normally I do not enjoy books set in this time period, they are often hard to follow because there is such a difference in that era than in ours. However this book was very interesting and the author was able to make the differences of times periods a non issue, without loosing the historical aspect of the story. A great mystery and a good story. 300 pages $14.99 US 4 stars.
This book was provided for review purposes by Christian Bookworm Reviews, no payment was received for this review.
SallyTampa, FL5 Stars Out Of 5April 22, 2010SallyTampa, FLThis marvelous book is written in the first-person narrative of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon during medieval England. Right off, a corpse is discovered and suspicions arise. Was it a wolf or other wild animal, or could it be a murder?Master Hugh solves the puzzle like any good sleuth. He notes the clues and follows up on his hunches--all the while tending to his duties as the only physician. I like that Master Hugh shares his day-to-day experiences. Quite interesting to me is learning about the practice of medicine during this time. He visits and often quotes his mentor, John Wyclif.I read the author's first novel The Unquiet Bones, loved it and looked forward to reading this second in the series. Both are stand alone novels, and you'll have no problem catching on. However, if you've read the first, you will enjoy picking up where the first novel ends as well as the reappearance of Alice.The dialogue is a delight, and the author has researched medieval England extensively to create a believable plot.An extensive glossary makes the novel easier to read. All in all, this is a delightful book, and I recommend this to one and all! I look forward to the next in the series.I want to give a special thanks to Cat Hoort at Kregel Publications for my copy.