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A Trail of Ink (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) Paperback – January 3, 2011

Book 3 of 7 in the Hugh de Singleton Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (January 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854249746
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854249746
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

I look forward to the next book in the series.
ChrissieS
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or who would be interested in a look at pre-Reformation England.
ChristianChick'sThoughts
This story is a great read, equal parts mystery and humor.
Windywoman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the third chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff, Hugh is asked to find twenty-two books that were stolen from John Wyclif (fourteenth-century theologian and church reformer), who was Hugh's mentor at Oxford.

It seems likely (but not certain) that the theft is connected with someone at the university, which Hugh describes as "a den of scholarly vipers." Hugh's investigation meanders at first, but in the end there are enough fights, wounds and deaths to warrant calling this academic mystery "action packed."

How Aristotle and Euclid could incite murder and mayhem might perplex modern readers, but in medieval times books were precious and pricey. A scholar rarely acquired as many as twenty books in a lifetime.

Author Mel Starr, historian and scholar of medieval surgery, gives us a fascinating picture of medieval life among scholars, lords, sheriffs, surgeons, shopkeepers, monks and marriageable young women.

I always look forward to dinner in these books too - fabulous fare like pork in pepper sauce, pear-and-herb fritters and eels baked in vinegar and spices.

In A Trail of Ink, Hugh divides his time between finding Wyclif's books and courting Kate, an Oxford stationer's comely daughter. Both pursuits turn out to be life threatening.

Although Hugh is a brilliant surgeon, he's a timid lover and a self-effacing (though determined) investigator. He faithfully chronicles all his mistakes and ineptitudes, and when he succeeds, credits the Lord. He also invites and listens to advice. His modesty is quite charming.

I'm enjoying this series. When I'm reading escapist literature, I'm always pleased to learn something, and Mel Starr is a good medievalist. For fullest enjoyment of Hugh de Singleton's thoughtful character, I'd recommend reading the chronicles in order: (1) Unquiet Bones, (2) A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel and (3) A Trail of Ink.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark B on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I like this series of books. They are totally different from the suspense/mystery novels I read. This series is set in the 1300's, which requires methods of detecting and investigating than what we have today.

The main character is Hugh de Singleton, who is both a surgeon and bailiff. As I commented on an earlier book in this series, I find the methods of surgery and doctoring in that day fascinating.

This book, Trail of Ink, starts off a bit slowly, but then picked up and grabbed my interest. The story involves stolen books, and I figured it wasn't going to be a story involving murder and mayhem, but I was wrong. Thought it may have been slower getting to the suspenseful moments than the two books that preceded this one, it has a lot of suspense in it also, and even some romance thrown in - although that is also a lot different than modern day romances.

The author has studied medieval surgery and medieval English, and that comes across in the book. Reading his books are like stepping into medieval times. He paints a great picture of what life was like in that day, and adds mystery and suspense to make it even more enjoyable.

I have one complaint about the book. There is a glossary in the front of the book to define some of the unfamiliar words in the book, but there are still several used that are not in the glossary. I would have liked a definition of those also.

I highly recommend this series. No, it isn't like reading a fast paced suspense novel set in modern times, but this book, and the other two in the series, make an enjoyable read and you won't be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Katie Garvin on March 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Thoroughly researched and well written, A Trail of Ink drew me with the writer's individual and unique style. It took me a few pages to get used to it, but as the mystery continued, I grew to really like the way it was written. Sounding everything like a personal diary of Hugh's, it reminded me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books.

Hugh was a pretty interesting character. He had a very funny sense of humor - I found myself chuckling at a few points in the book. His courtship with Kate was very cute. She seemed a very strong character and I love how she put Hugh at ease with calling on her. They will make the perfect couple.

The characters in the book were all very well fleshed out in just about every way except appearance. Since this book was written like Hugh's own personal diary, I can understand how guys wouldn't be taking up a few paragraphs to describe how a person looks. But it would have been nice to know what Kate looked like beyond extremely comely, or what Jack looked like beyond immense in stature and strength. But, while these details would have been nice, it didn't ruin the book for me. I still was able to connect with the characters - obviously, because it is written as a personal diary, I connected with Hugh the most. But I grew to really like Jack's protectiveness and Kate's fearlessness and strength. Wonderful characters!

The mystery was well thought out. And using John Wyclif's books as the object to center a mystery around was brilliant on the part of the author. Very unique. The mystery made me realize how prized books were back then, in comparison to now - where they are nearly growing out our ears! (Not that that's a bad thing!
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A Trail of Ink (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon)
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