Ashes to Ashes: The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon  -     By: Mel Starr
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Ashes to Ashes: The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon

Kregel Publications / 2015 / Paperback

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Ashes to Ashes: The 8th chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

The tradition on Saint John’s Day was to ward off sickness in cattle and men, by burning the bones of pigs.  Men collecting the ashes for use as fertilizer the day after the celebration find human bones.  Was it murder?  What about human bones on your dining table?  Kate never imagined her husband would inspect skeletons there. 

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1782641335
ISBN-13: 9781782641339
Series: Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton

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Publisher's Description

The morning after the festivities of Midsummer's Eve, the villagers of Bampton make a grisly discovery

Master Hugh, Kate, and their children attend the Midsummer's Eve fire. The next morning Hugh hears the passing bell ring from the Church of St. Beornwald, and moments later is summoned. Tenants collecting the ashes to spread upon their fields have found burned bones.

Master Hugh learns of several men of Bampton and nearby villages who have gone missing recently. Most are soon found, some alive, some dead. Master Hugh eventually learns that the bones are those of a bailiff from a nearby manor. Someone has slain him and placed his body in the fire to destroy evidence of murder.

Bailiffs are not popular men; they dictate labor service, collect rents, and enforce other obligations. Has this bailiff died at the hand of some angry tenant? Hugh soon discovers this is not the case. There is quite another reason for murder . . .

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  1. Alberta, Canada
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I just love the series!
    September 3, 2016
    Leona Koziarski
    Alberta, Canada
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    One of the best murder and mayhem series of books out there about the 13th century. Buy the set. Each book is done in such away that they could be stand alone stories. One does not have to read in order. There is just enough information about a previous novel as not to ruin the story.
  2. UK,
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Dead Bailff and Property Dispute make another mystery for Hugh
    June 7, 2016
    English Lady
    UK,
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    Although Im a Cadfael fan, this was the only other Medieval Mystery series I had read until recently. I did recently make a foray into another popular series by an American author, but I prefer this one, as the other seemed a little too OTT.

    There is something constant, comfortably reliable about The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton. Those who have read other books in the series will expect not to find any deep political intrigue in the series, set as it is in fourteenth century rural Oxfordshire, with only occasional visits to the county town. Rather it focuses more on the lives and actions and concerns of more ordinary people, and tends to adopt a slower, gentler pace. The stories usually also involve the exploration of some moral or spiritual theme- as Hugh is a sympathizer of John Wycliffe.

    Again, this is a detail I appreciate, considering that many works like this have characters who can be rather too modern in their outlook and attitudes, instead of seeing things the way people at the time might have done.

    Some of the previous titles in the series (this is the eighth) have been a mixed bag, but I think the last three have been consistently good, exploring some local drama or family conflict alongside the crime. I for once appreciate how the author incorporates aspects of social, legal and medical history into the stories.

    Of course, the protagonist and sleuth Hugh de Singleton is a surgeon, and always gets at least one medical emergency, but theres usually something else too. In this one, its a property dispute involving the inheritance of a manor. As I am currently researching Medieval Legal records relating to landholding, it was something that I could relate to and understand.

    I did notice one historical error, a reference to the deposition of Edward II as having occurred 62 years before. The story is set in 1369, which would place the event in 1307, but that was the year Edward came to the throne, not the year of his deposition, which was 1327. Such mix-ups do happen, I just hope the quality of the stories and the underpinning research is not slipping, as I also noticed a few terms and phrases that seemed a bit too American like I was some taller.

    Other reviewers have mentioned that some of stories seem to be getting a little bit repetitive, and I am inclined to agree (Hugh gets beaten up again, when going home alone in the evening after investigating- really should have learned not to do that by now), but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.

    I think it may have something to do with the rather narrow geographical setting, and cast of characters. I hear, however, that the next book may be set in France, which might add a new and interesting dimension. Im just glad that there is going to be at another book, as I had heard this was to be the last one.

    I would recommend to lovers of more cosy and light medieval mysteries, those who are interested in the period, and of course as those who are already following the series.

    I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in the hope that I would write a review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed are my own.
  3. Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Incredible Suspense Filled Mystery
    February 7, 2016
    VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Mel Starr in his new book, Ashes To Ashes Book Eight in the Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series published by Monarch Books returns us to Oxford in 1369 for another mystery involving the intrepid bailiff and surgeon.

    From the back cover: The morning after the festivities of Midsummers Eve, the villagers of Bampton make a grisly discovery

    Master Hugh, Kate, and their children attend the Midsummers Eve fire. The next morning Hugh hears the passing bell ring from the Church of St. Beornwald, and moments later is summoned. Tenants collecting the ashes to spread upon their fields have found burned bones.

    Master Hugh learns of several men of Bampton and nearby villages who have gone missing recently. Most are soon found, some alive, some dead. Master Hugh eventually learns that the bones are those of a bailiff from a nearby manor. Someone has slain him and placed his body in the fire to destroy evidence of murder.

    Bailiffs are not popular men; they dictate labor service, collect rents, and enforce other obligations. Has this bailiff died at the hand of some angry tenant? Hugh soon discovers this is not the case. There is quite another reason for murder . . .

    Mel Starr has created one of the most interesting detectives ever in Master Hugh. Master Hugh and his wife, Kate, take their family to the Midsummers Eve, St. Johns Day fire- A celebration of summer. Then, the next morning as the people are spreading the ashes in the fields bones are found, which is where we get the title Ashes To Ashes. Now Hugh finds out that the deceased was a bailiff, not highly loved, but still deserving of justice and Hugh will go through the possible suspects with all their motives to figure out which one of them did it. Ashes To Ashes is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed in the characters as well as life in England in the 1300s. I have become a huge fan of Mel Starr and am fantastically pleased with his creation: Hugh de Singleton. These mysteries that he gets involved with are highly complicated and thoroughly enjoyable. I think Mel Starr is an extremely talented writer who really knows how to tell a story that will grab you and keep you flipping pages until you find out who did it. I am already looking forward to the next book, Lucifers Harvest.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Monarch Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  4. PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A MUST READ FOR HISTORICAL MYSTERY LOVERS!,
    February 5, 2016
    Moonpie
    PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I am so hooked on Mel Starrs books! Each time I finish one, I am sad and cant wait for the next one to be published! His murder mysteries are for sure one of a kind!

    I never tire of Hugh de Singleton, Medieval sleuth, doctor and surgeon. The reader becomes involved in all aspects of his life, on every level: professional, social, spiritual, family, and emotional. Through him you step back over 700 years and experience living through his eyes. I love his fantastic wit and dry humor. I can even imagine his tone of voice and mannerisms as he speaks.

    In each new book I learn even more history about the 14th century and the incredible medical practices during that time. I didnt realize the surgeon was also the coroner, with only his backyard or kitchen table to gather information about the deceased!

    In this 8th mystery a persons bones are found in the ashes of a fire after the Midsummers celebration. I think this is Hughs hardest case to date. There is little to go on and the clues keep shifting from person to person. I began to wonder if he would be able to solve this one, but he did! It was very suspenseful! He and his family faced greater danger than ever before. As with all Mr. Starrs books, I was entertained, captivated, and surprised! I would give this book six stars if I could! If you like history and mystery you want to read this book!

    I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange or an honest review. The opinions I expressed are my own.
  5. Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Very captivating
    February 4, 2016
    lcjohnson1988
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Hugh de Singleton, surgeon, bailiff and fourth son of a knight returns in his eighth adventure. This time a midsummer celebration in the village of Bampton with a huge bonfire is the setting for the beginning of the story. On the morning after the bonfire has burned out, some village men are gathering up the ashes when they discover a human skeleton. Hugh is immediately called as is the coroner. Hugh is given the task of identifying the bones as they are found on Lord Gilberts property. As Lord Gilbert is Hughs boss, what Lord Gilbert wants is what Lord Gilbert gets.

    Hugh begins to investigate, but has trouble identifying the body as no one claims to know of any missing men in the area. Hugh spreads his search further and thinks he has identified the body only to be proven wrong. Starting over, he begins his questions in a nearby small village and meets with animosity. After questioning again and again, he thinks he knows who the skeleton is. Now he has to determine motive and find proof, which proves to be a daunting task. He is accosted and beaten badly, but refuses to give up. He will see justice done!

    Mel Starr deftly recreates life in England in the 1300s in this wonderful series. I like history and mystery, so I get a double dose with Mels books! Hughs character continues to develop and I appreciate the questions he poses regarding what the Lord Christ would want him to act or respond in certain situations. Hugh also ponders some great truths of life that apply to life in todays time period as well. I like Hughs stubborn nature, refusing to give up on seeking justice even if it means sacrificing something of himself. I eagerly look forward to book nine in the series, Lucifers Harvest, and cant wait to see Hugh in action again.
Displaying items 1-5 of 10
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