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The Unquiet Bones: The First Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) Paperback – November 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825462908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825462900
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I would almost have to assume that Mel Starr had a previous life in 14th-century England, so incredibly realistic are his descriptions of life then and his dialogue. The author brings it to life with panache. Starr's lavish use of Medieval English adds a saucy flavoring to his tale. You will enjoy this excellent excursion into the past!" -- Dr Paul Maier --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

A very engaging and well written story.
JJenkx
Good writing, good use of history and historical facts.
tracy b smith
Read the book, you won't want to put it down!
Harper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

344 of 348 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
The first chronicle of surgeon Hugh de Singleton takes place in the 14th century at the time of the Black Death. Much of the population of Bampton has been decimated by the plague, but a corpse discovered in the castle cesspit reveals that murder is also afoot. Master Hugh determines that the remains cannot belong to the still missing Sir Robert, as assumed, and an investigation begins.

The story is narrated with humor and warmth by the unassuming Hugh de Singleton, who is determined to find the real killer in a time when expediency is often more important than true justice.

The book contains facinating insights into medieval surgery and medieval English. Starr's book is a delightful read, and I am looking forward to the next installment in the series. This book is available now in the UK and here on Amazon.com.
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145 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Cross on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an excellent idea - to merge in the medieval England of Edward III, a surgeon who becomes a bailiff, with the potential for religion, law, history, and medicine! It may sound like an odd combination, but Melvin Starr's debut novel of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon (and later, bailiff to the interesting and rather likeable Lord Gilbert, third Baron Talbot and lord of Bampton) is a pleasant surprise. The author shows a firm grasp of his history - and of course, manages to move the remarkable John Wycliff, Lord of Balliol, into a couple of pertinent scenes - his plotting is careful and well set out. But I was most impressed with our new hero, Master Hugh. He is a man of parts ranging from modest to intriguing, and it's a fun read! I agree with the other reviewers, we can cheerfully hope that this will b e the first of a series.
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98 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Bell VINE VOICE on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Unquiet Bones is the first in a medieval mystery series featuring the adventures of Hugh of Single, surgeon. He's recently completed his training, and moved to the town of Bampton to practice his trade. When the remains of a young woman turn up in a cesspit, Hugh is called in for his medical expertise; and later, to solve the mystery.

It's an interesting plot, and there's a fairly good twist about two-thirds of the way through. Starr is technically not the most skilled of writers, but he gives his readers a very detailed picture of a town and its people during the 1360s. Hugh is a bit bland as a main character, and I'd like to see him develop a bit more as the series progresses. The potential romance wasn't as quite as fleshed out as I thought it should be. And I wasn't quite sure about Hugh as a narrator; it wasn't quite clear who he's writing these chronicles for, or why. The book took a while to get off the ground--the author starts with this great opening, then spends three chapters talking about various procedures he's done and how he came to know Sir Gilbert.

However, I did enjoy the plot twist that I mentioned above, and the descriptions of medieval medicine are excellent. The author has clearly done his research and is passionate about his subject. The book is plotted and paced well, and Hugh's inquiries into the death of the young woman in the cesspit are realistic. I look forward to reading more of his adventures. The book uses a number of medieval terms, which are easily explained by the glossary in the front of the novel.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Ruth B. Ingram on February 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a first novel so I was very pleasantly surprised to find this book well written, the mystery was well paced and the ending did not feel rushed. All in all this was a great first novel and I will purchase any others forthcoming from this author.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's easy to recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction. You don't have to be a mystery buff to enjoy it, however, because so much of Melvin Starr's success comes from his depiction of the setting: a town not too far from Oxford in the 1300s, not long after the Plague has passed through. He does an outstanding job at conveying the details of medieval life, without jumping up and shouting, "Look at how historically accurate I am!" It's not that the mystery itself is an afterthought -- it isn't -- but the mystery isn't at the expense of the history.

The hero, Hugh de Singleton, is a younger son who managed to get through University and then train as a surgeon. Shortly after taking a position in the town of Bampton (prompted in part by unrequited love for the Lord of Bampton's sister), someone finds a body, and just *naturally* de Singleton is given the responsibility of identifying the perpetrator. His journeys (both metaphysical and on a plodding old horse) take him to every class level in his society, and also let us follow along as the young man's character changes. I'm tempted to call it Crime Scene Investigation: Brampton because the author really shows how much was and wasn't known about medicine and deductive reasoning at the time.

This is quiet read. It's not an exciting narrative, but it has a gentle humor, characters I came to care about, and a plot worth paying attention to. If you're a fan of historical mysteries, you won't go wrong with this book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stacey VINE VOICE on April 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've never read a medieval mystery. When I heard that "The Unquiet Bones" by Melvin R. Starr was just that, I was intrigued. What I found in this novel was an incredibly suspenseful beginning to what promises to be an outstanding series of medieval crime stories following a terrific main character, Hugh de Singleton, a newly educated medieval surgeon and sleuth. This is a wonderfully intelligent mystery novel where the age of English castles meets crime scene investigation! There's been a multiple murder, and the bones have been found at Bampton Castle. When a series of events leads Hugh de Singleton to treat the lord of the castle, he is in a prime position to investigate and solve the mystery.

The author's education is history and medieval surgery is very evident throughout this intellectually crafted novel that is bound to draw the reader to a new level of thought.
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