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A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel

valoraciones:
4/5 (18 valoraciones)
Longitud:
361 página
6 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Apr 19, 2013
ISBN:
9781782640677
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

A further episode in the Unquiet Bones series, following the life and fortunes of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon in medieval Bampton, Oxfordshire Alan, the beadle of the manor of Bampton, had gone out at dusk to seek those who might violate curfew.

When, the following morning, he had not returned home, his young wife Matilda had sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor. Two days later Alan's corpse was discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St Andrew's Chapel. His throat had been torn out - his head was half severed from his body - and his face, hands and forearms were lacerated with deep scratches. Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listened carefully to the coroner's surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet, if so, why was there no blood?

Editorial:
Publicado:
Apr 19, 2013
ISBN:
9781782640677
Formato:
Libro

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  • (5/5)
    Hugh de Singleton is a 14th Century English surgeon who is also the bailiff, or general manager, for the estate of an important nobleman, Lord Gilbert, in the southeastern part of England. A perceptive and principled man for the times, de Singleton has emerged into kind of early police detective, who is kept busy by a continuous stream of crimes--major and minor--ranging from curfew violation to game poaching to murder.A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel is the 2nd book in the series. Though I did not read the first book I was never lost or perplexed by the characters. Here the medieval background enhances the reading experience while putting the clock back to a time before mysteries were solved by forensics. You can read this as a stand-alone mystery however I warn you, you will become attached to the character and times of Hugh de Singleton and will be back for more
  • (5/5)
    I loved the first book in this series (The Unquiet Bones) and this one is even better. The detail Starr brings to everyday medieval life is fascinating. The characters are engaging and the story is fun. Can't wait for the next book (A Trail of Ink, due out 2/28/11 per Amazon in July 10).
  • (4/5)
    I received this as an Early Reviewer's book. That won't shade the review, but I admit I probably wouldn't have come across this book another way. My library doesn't have it or the first one in the series.I enjoyed this book. It is about a man who is the fourth son, so he was sent to Oxford to make his own way. He studied law, but ended up a surgeon, studying in Paris. He is now the surgeon and bailiff in an area outside of Oxford in 1365. The historical part of this is well presented, not in your face but describing life at the time in that area. There is a glossary at the beginning to define some of the words and holy days mentioned in the book. It seems well researched.The mystery isn't quite as satisfying, but the character of Hugh de Singleton and the descriptions of his efforts to solve the mystery and the people he interacts with are well done. The language is just what I want in historical fiction. The narrator is educated and it's probably few people ever talked this way, but it feels just right for the time and the person.
  • (5/5)
    Surgeon Hugh de Singleton, a gentle, principled, and keenly observant man, has just assumed his new responsibilities as Bailiff in this charming 14th century police procedural, set shortly after the black plague had ravaged Britain.When Alan the Beadle is found under a hedge with his throat ripped out and his shoes missing, Hugh’s examination of the body raises a suspicion that the death was not caused by a wolf. While Hugh searches for the shoe thief, and his baited stakeout fails to catch a marauding wolf, Hugh himself is attacked in the dead of night – by men. Then his chief suspect is found dead, apparently stabbed in the back of the neck. There are no jarring anachronisms here; Hugh makes excellent use of the few and low-tech tools available to a medieval detective to solve the crimes. Who would think that the number of nails in a door hinge could provide an important clue to murder? These books are a very pleasant way to nibble a little history within a well-written mystery. Hugh’s mentor is a real historical character; a firebrand scholar who was later condemned by the Church as a heretic. The characters and setting are well-drawn, including the unsuitable women of differing stations who capture shy Hugh’s fancy.I look forward to the next book in this series!
  • (3/5)
    This is a light fast book that is about the likeable surgeon and bailiff Hugh de Singleton. Hugh seems to be a forward thinker. He tells you about the procedures he performs while curing various injuries and how his thoughts differ from what was then the norm. It gives the reader a good, but not overbearing, look at the state of medicine at the time. He also tends to wax philosophic about religious matters. It is a rather prevalent theme in the book and he talks about it a lot. He is not preachy but more conversational in a ‘here’s what I think about this, don’t tell the bishop’ sort of way. And once again his ideas do not always conform to what the church would call the norm. But he is just sharing his thoughts and ponderings with us, not telling us what to think. And since religion and the church play a role in the everyday life of the people it is really not surprising to find that Hugh thinks about it so much. Hugh has a wit and a self deprecating humor that make him a fun character to get to know. And Starr fills the account with little facts from the everyday life of the people so that the setting comes to life. You hear about a widow having to worry about getting her dead husband’s shoes back because they are worth more than she can afford to lose and about how the plague has ravaged the country and the people. You learn how the religious observances affect their daily lives and how having food all through the winter was a problem. And you hear a lot about eating. This is a first person account so the things that are important to Hugh and that are in the forefront of his mind get mentioned most. And one of those things is food. He tells you what every meal he eats consists of. He also mentions often that people are not usually happy to see him and talks about wanting a wife to the point of annoyance. It does tell you something about Hugh but I do wish he wouldn’t talk about it so much. This is a mystery, but only because someone happens to get killed and it is Hugh’s job to find the murderer. You do not get a list of clues that you can follow to the logical conclusion. Hugh is telling his story after the fact and he will tell you everything he sees but he will also tell you which parts turn out to be important in the future or add something that he didn’t know until later. And when you do find out what happened it sort of comes out of nowhere. And Hugh is not a detective who reasons everything out and expertly follows logic to the conclusion of his investigation. He is a little out of his field with murder mysteries. And it is often clear that he really doesn’t know what he is doing. He has all these carefully laid plans that usually come to not, except that he gets clunked on the head with something. He lucks into most of the information that he gets by being in the right place at the right time instead of deducing anything. These are not complaints about the book but I do think that they make it more about Hugh than it is about the murder of poor Alan the Beadle. The book is filled with interesting characters and period details and a glossary to help you on your way. If you enjoy historical fiction this would be one you might want to give a try.
  • (3/5)
    Great characters, loved the historical setting, interesting and well written. That being said, the story moved slowly and the mystery was unsatisfying. I was also a little put off by the religious aspect. Just not my cup of tea.
  • (3/5)
    A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel is the second tale (or chronicle) of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff who also solves mysteries in the town of Bampton. This time, a beadle has been found dead near St. Andrew’s Chapel, his throat brutally slashed. Everyone assumes that a wolf has killed him; but on the other hand, maybe it was murder? Since I’ve read the first two installments in this series, I’ll start with the obvious comparisons. Hugh is an engaging hero, likeable despite his self-confessed vanity regarding his talents. In the second book, the author manages to keep Hugh in character, while still having him develop as a person. The mystery itself is a bit pedestrian, but everything wraps up well in the end. As in the first novel in the series, Starr makes Wycliff a character, but he doesn’t add much to the plot of the book other than to help Hugh with his deductions. Where the author really excels, however, is in period detail, as well as the details of medieval surgery. There’s less of it here in this book than in The Unquiet Bones, however, but that actually added to my enjoyment of the book. In all, this is a better book than the first in the series, though the mystery itself takes the backseat sometimes.
  • (4/5)
    Who said the Middle Ages was boring. Well if you ask Hugh Singleton, surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert Talbot he’ll tell you, not so much. As he was awakened at dawn to be notified of a murder, now he has to solve it and with the help of his tenacity, his curiosity and his puzzle solving ability he just might do it before the culprits make a corpse out of him.Mel Starr gives us a unique look at the mid 1300’s in his new novel A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel, through the eyes of surgeon and bailiff Hugh Singleton. Being a teacher of History and student of medieval surgery and English Mel gives us a realistic feel of the life and times of that era, filled with language, rituals and lifestyle. After the first few pages you’re able to pick up on the dialogue, which is rife with humor as well as vivid narratives of the community and surrounding countryside of Brampton England, which is a town that still exists today in the Cumbrian countryside. His characters are wonderfully portrayed in commonsense and earthy detail and you’ll soon know them well as the author is gifted in his descriptions and knowledge of them. Hugh is such a likable fellow he is obviously always in search of justice, his faith in God is indisputable and his wish and search for a wife is funny and heartwarming.So if you’re in the mood for a little something different in your search for a good mystery read I think this one might be right up your alley.A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel is Hugh’s second adventure, it reads well as a stand a lone. Make sure to check out the first in the series The Unquiet Bones and his third in the series is due out soon and is titled A Trail of Ink. Check him out you’ll be glad you did.
  • (4/5)
    I got this book from the LT ER program. It is the second in the Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series. I didn't have book 1 Unquiet Bones , so I ordered it, and read it before this one.I loved both of them. The writing is very simple and straightforward, so those who enjoy fancy or stylistic prose may be put off. It is a very quick read, but not fluffy, and very satisfying. Both books are also strongly religious. In fact the publisher produces Christian fiction. I am not fond of the genre usually, but its not an issue with these books. They are set in the 14th century in a small English hamlet. If you are knowledgeable at all about the time period the strong religious theme fits right in with the time, place and people. It is also not preachy, just part of their lives, especially the different devotions during the day, and as a reality check (in their world), about what they were doing and hoping for - are they doing the right thing. Of course, not everyone believes or follows the rules, but the main characters does both. The POV is Hugh de Singleton an extra son (4th) of some minor gentry. He has to fend for himself in the world and through a series of events becomes interested in Surgery while at College. Surgery is not the same practice of medicine as leech, barber or doctor. Hugh mostly deals with injuries and their side effects, and the methods to make them well. He rescued the Lord of Brampton when he was injured and bleeding in the streets of Oxford. He is engaged soon after by the Lord. Hugh moves to the small hamlet to look after him, his family, the villagers and castle workers. Hugh is a bit of a modernist in his medical approach, but he has good results which develops a good reputation. Because of his methods of careful observation and questioning, and the trust the Lord has for him, Hugh gets handed all the mysteries in the castle/hamlet. In the second book Hugh has also become the Bailiff for the Lord, giving him official standing when he makes his inquiries. Hugh is also a very straightforward man and so his prose style in his chronicles reflects that. He is trying to do his best, but often feels overwhelmed. He makes mistakes and owns up to them and tries to learn from them. He is interested in having a wife, but often afraid to look for her, since those in his path so far, have been unsuitable (too high or too low on the social ladder (the scullery maid is not too young, but too lowly for him)). He has a fear of horse riding, and consequently a fondness for an old slow war horse named Bruce, and an inquisitive mind.The period details and setting are masterfully done and you really feel yourself in the time period. When the book was over, I still wanted to be wandering in the hamlet. Although the book is about the killing of Alan the Beadle, the mystery is about a pair of shoes, and the interactions in the village. The shoes lead to the unraveling of the case. It reflects how little the people had, and how dear even the smallest item was. Starr brings in the church, the castle, the foresters, and the village tradesmen as part of the story and the mystery. Very well done, and a good foundation for more books and character development. Hugh may also have finally found the right young lady, but only time will tell.The author provides a glossary of period terms for those who are unfamiliar with them. The first book had Wycliffe making a cameo, and I hope other notables of the time will also show up. I can't wait for book #3. This is a series I will keep reading.
  • (5/5)
    For those of you who are fans of British cozy mysteries set in one of those quaint English villages, for those of you who love a good police procedural and for those of you who love a really well-written mystery, Mel Starr’s A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel is the book for you. And if you are a fan of historical fiction that submerges you in the daily lives of the average citizens of a time period without drowning you in it, then Mel Starr wrote this book with you in mind. Set in the latter half of the fourteenth century, after the decimation of the Black Death, this is the story of medieval surgeon Hugh de Singleton. Master Hugh, like many of us in this day and age actually has two jobs. He is both the local surgeon and bailiff to the local nobleman. As such he is in charge of the daily management of the nobleman’s estate, imposer of fines, collector of rents and in this case – solver of crimes. Hugh is one of the most endearing characters I have ever read. His internal dialogue on the nature of religion, in a time period when religion was whatever the church said it was, is witty and thought –provoking. An unlikely hero, Hugh is the perfect everyman guide to life in a fourteenth- century small town. And the characters that inhabit Bampton can be found in any small town in the world. That is what makes this such an accessible story. The death of Alan the local beadle (kind of like a town night watchman) sets in motion a series of events that Starr weaves into an intriguing mystery that will have you wondering to the very end. The twists and turns of the mystery take Hugh into a revealing look at his neighbors. And the best part is that the motives for all of the mayhem Bampton endures are all too human.In case you can’t tell, I truly enjoyed this book. The writing is brilliant in that it creates a very comfortable journey to fourteenth century England with a hero who is the perfect traveling companion and the perfect teacher to introduce you to the fascinating world of medieval medicine, police work and life. This is the first book of Mr. Starr’s I have read, but it certainly won’t be the last. Besides, I just have to find out if Hugh finds a suitable wife!
  • (5/5)
    When venturing into the pages of a Mel Starr novel, one steps into medieval England in the mid 1300s. Thoroughly enjoy these sojourns in the villages and across Shill Brook with the incomparable Hugh de Singleton Surgeon and bailiff of Lord Gilbert's estate and village. For those unfamiliar, Master Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon a character of many fine points that the author develops quite well. Singleton is Oxford educated and medically read and trained. He is friend of John Wycliffe (Bible Translator). He is not married, though he longs for the comfort and warmth of a wife.The story is written first-person with the voice of Singleton. Author Mel Starr is a historian by education and trade and has thoroughly research this series of period novels. Included in the front of the book are words and terms to help understand the terminology of the period. But you don't feel as though you are reading a history book. As Hugh de Singleton rides Bruce, the horse given him to use about the village and castle's business, he ponders the varied events that he must resolve and charge the culprits for the poaching and murders that trouble his village. The story takes the reader through the mental exercises, daily treks and journeys, meals of loaves of bread and ale and pieces of meat taken cold because he missed meal time. Mel Starr writes with ease and knowledge about the life and times and the status of different folk. How each person's job or status determined the lodging and even the quantity, frequency, and types of food they are able to eat.The reader will gain an appreciation for the laws of the period about ownership, poaching, curfews, and simple rights or lack of rights. You grasp the social order and the privilege of rank that exists.Singleton is trying to solve multiple murders and poaching that occurred on his Lord's estate and in going about this, his skills as a detective/bailiff are used but also his knowledge, and "cutting edge" opinions and skills as a surgeon.I began this series in the middle and have now read six of the books. I had to go back and start with the first book. I found Starr's style different and refreshing. It was interesting to read this period book and I felt that I could trust Starr's interpretation of the customs of the time.DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of A Corpse at St. Andrews Chapel from Kregel Publishing on behalf of the author for the purpose of my honest review. I was under no obligation to provide favorable comments. Opinions expressed are solely my own.
  • (3/5)
    This is the second book by Mel Starr, with Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff in medieval England. When I received the book as part of Early Reviewers, I quickly picked up the first book. The books are considered Christian literature, which is usually not an issue when reading a tale set in a time when God, and religion, played larger roles in the character's lives. Starr does a good job of showing how the religious holidays affected the people of the village. Another reviewer commented on the attention to detail of the times, and I love learning about the day to day events and practices that make up a village. For that alone I felt that this book was worth reading. However, knowing that this was Christian fiction I found myself annoyed by the character's lusting after a 15 year old scullery maid. Perhaps staying to true tot he times, each female character in this book holds an minor role and are stereotypes of the women of the day. Shrew, adulterer, scullery maid, and young lovely maiden are a deep as you will get for the female characters. Also I found the author's practice of having 2 or three characters with the same name unnecessarily confusing. While there may not have been a surplus of names, there is no need to have 3 Johns, or 4 Thomas'.
  • (4/5)
    This was a fun historical mystery. I love the character of Master Hugh de Singleton. He is so much fun. He is the bailiff and surgeon of this area and very observant. He is alone until he meets a woman during his investigation. This has mystery and some minor romance and some fun parts. I received this book from book fun.org foe a fair and honest opinion.
  • (5/5)
    Mel Starr's books are mysteries. They do provide a mystery to ponder. The mysteries are not convoluted and never gruesome. The are truly and guide through the Middle Ages led by a bailiff who is also a self-trained surgeon, a fiend bequeathed him a book on surgery and he read it. As a bailiff, he writes of a mystery; as a surgeon he takes us into the lives of the people in the middle ages. And oh does he like to eat. His quest for the truth is always interrupted by a robust meal. In this book, he takes on the murder of one fellow and is commissioned to find the murderer for another. Mel Starr's writing is pleasing and humorous.
  • (4/5)
    This is the 2nd book in the Hugh Singleton series and I enjoyed it just as much as the first book! This time Alan the beadle disappears and a couple days later is found dead, at first glance, looks to be a wolf, though the clues seem to not fit together. Alan's shoes are missing and Hugh wants to find them and return them to Alan's widow.While on the trail of a thief Hugh almost gets killed by a bandit. Then he finds himself looking for a murderer. Hugh has a rough time of it and has a few close calls.Great books, great storytelling. I expect to enjoy them all!
  • (3/5)
    This is a murder mystery set in the small are of Bampton in old England. We follow our detective, Master Hugh de Singleton, as he tries to solve the case of a brutal murder. A man has been found with his throat slashed in the bushes near the road leading the St. Andrew's Chapel. While investigation the murder, he uncovers an unusaul trail of related crimes that lead to quite a stunning conclusion.While I was able to guess several of the details before they were explained by Hugh. However, as the story is written by Hugh himself as a chronicle of his investigation, he often informs the reader that something turned up to be important, but he did not realize it at the time of the discovery. The case leads the reader on quite a merry chase through the little town, introducing us to many of the residents. Starr's writing brings these people and their town to life through the eyes of Hugh as he struggles to find the trail of the killer.The writing was nice and liesurly, carrying you through the book at a steady pace as Hugh lays the groundwork for everything to come together. On the down side, I found very little to feel suspense about. Since it was written as a chronicle by Hugh after the fact, there were many insights and thoughts included. I got a little tired of hearing how badly he wanted to find a wife, the subject was dwelt on too many times and too often. I can hardly imagine that a man investigating such a grisly murder would have much time to complain to himself about his lack of a wife.I have added earlier chronicles to my wish list, but they are not near the top. The story was engaging but needed to have that moment of suspence to make it a little more exiting for me.3/5