This is my first Hugh de Singleton, and consequently Mel Starr book, and I very much enjoyed it. I like how the author portrayed medieval times, people, places, and customs. Things we take for granted, like freedom of speech and no noble system, were brought out to a delightful degree. I've always been curious about this time in history, the Plague, medicine, how families interacted with each other - or didn't - and this is right up my alley.
I especially enjoyed that Singleton didn't look down on his wife and child because of their sex, but valued his wife's opinion and intelligence and treated her as valuable and loved. Add to that, no foul language, no gratuitous sex scenes, and well thought out plot, and you have a winner.
Highly recommended for those who loved to read clean mysteries.
*My thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not required they be positive.*
Mel Starr has written another winner in the medieval mystery genre! I have read all the books in this series and am so grateful for Mel's storytelling talent and ability to translate this talent to paper for readers' enjoyment and entertainment.
This story takes place mostly in Bampton Castle in 1368. Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff for Lord Gilbert is called to the castle to determine the cause of death of one of Lord Gilbert's guests, Sir Henry Burley. At first, it appears a natural death, but upon further investigation Hugh discovers Sir Henry is the victim of foul play. As the investigation proceeds, Hugh finds more suspects than he can rule out. Sir Henry's wife is known to want to be free of her husband to marry another. His daughter wants to marry a squire against her father's wishes. Could on of these women have killed Sir Henry? Maybe they worked together to end his life? Both of the knights in Sir Henry's employ desire Sir Henry's wife. Maybe they wanted to get Sir Henry out of the way?
All too soon another murder takes place under Lord Gilbert's roof, and he is not pleased. He charges Hugh to find the murderer quickly so he can be rid of the unpleasant Lady Margery, Sir Henry's widow. Hugh continues to question members of Sir Henry's retinue, but is unsatisfied with the direction his investigation takes him. The solution seems too pat, so he continues his search. He uncovers some unsavory information about Sir Henry and this opens up a new can of worms to weed through.
Eventually, Hugh discovers the truth and the journey to discovery is well worth the time spent upon the path. I really enjoyed reading about the food eaten and the language style of medieval times. The mystery will keep readers engaged from beginning to end. There are different suspects at different points in the story that hold readers' minds, keeps them thinking and trying to figure out who the murderer is before the end of the novel. I am looking forward to Hugh's next adventure in The Abbot's Agreement, which will be released in late 2014. I highly recommend this very entertaining series for mystery-lovers everywhere.