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A Trail of Ink (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) Paperback – January 3, 2011
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I've also been to the Half Price Bookstores and they NEVER have these novels. This series is definitely a keeper that no one wants to part with.
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.