A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Series #2)

( 5 )


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 stillnot returned home, his young wife Matilda sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor.

Two days later Alan?s corpse is discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St. Andrew?s Chapel. His throat has been torn out, his head half-severed from his body and his face, ...

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A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Series #2)

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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 stillnot returned home, his young wife Matilda sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor.

Two days later Alan’s corpse is discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St. Andrew’s Chapel. His throat has been torn out, his head half-severed from his body and his face, hands, and forearms lacerated with deep scratches.

Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listens carefully to the coroner surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet . . . if so, why is there so little blood?

“This skillfully woven story is a delight to read. The setting is exceptionally well crafted. Highly recommended.”

—Davis Bunn, best-selling author

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This second Hugh de Singleton mystery (after The Unquiet Bones) once again features Master Hugh, who is both bailiff and physician at Bampton Manor. In this suspense-filled tale, the beadle of the manor sets out to find and bring back anyone breaking curfew, but he never returns home. The officer's wife pleads with Master Hugh to search for clues and solve his disappearance. VERDICT The combination of mystery, suspense, and historical fiction creates a delightful tale that will please those readers who enjoy Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael series.
Publishers Weekly
History teacher and author Starr (The Unquiet Bones) pens a second medieval mystery featuring Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of Lord Gilbert Talbot’s manor at Bampton, England. The discovery of a corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel—that of Alan, the manor’s beadle—poses a mystery that Master Hugh must unravel. A subsequent second murder deepens the mystery. Master Hugh is nothing if not deliberate; the narrative proceeds slowly and methodically, adding complications and characters. The story is detail driven rather than character driven, with a groaning board of medieval touches: diet, clothing, calendar with feast days. Starr helpfully provides a glossary for readers who want to tell their beadle from their bailiff. In an era in which religion and culture were synonymous, there’s also a goodly helping of theological asides, chubby clergy, and a sympathetic portrait of John Wyclif, the Reformation’s “morning star” and a mentor to Master Hugh. Starr pens a competent, albeit slow-moving, medieval tale. (Mar.)
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Product Details

Meet 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

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The MIddle Ages is never boring with Hugh Singleton solving crimes

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Medieval Mystery

    This marvelous book is written in the first-person narrative of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon during medieval England. Right off, a corpse is discovered and suspicions arise. Was it a wolf or other wild animal, or could it be a murder?

    Master Hugh solves the puzzle like any good sleuth. He notes the clues and follows up on his hunches--all the while tending to his duties as the only physician. I like that Master Hugh shares his day-to-day experiences. Quite interesting to me is learning about the practice of medicine during this time. He visits and often quotes his mentor, John Wyclif.

    I read the author's first novel The Unquiet Bones, loved it and looked forward to reading this second in the series. Both are stand alone novels, and you'll have no problem catching on. However, if you've read the first, you will enjoy picking up where the first novel ends as well as the reappearance of Alice.

    The dialogue is a delight, and the author has researched medieval England extensively to create a believable plot.

    An extensive glossary makes the novel easier to read. All in all, this is a delightful book, and I recommend this to one and all! I look forward to the next in the series.

    I want to give a special thanks to Cat Hoort at Kregel Publications for my copy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2010

    2nd in Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series is the perfect historical mystery

    A Corpse at St. Andrews Chapel by Mel Starr is the second book in the Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series. This mystery picks up shortly after the events of The Unquiet Bones in 1365 as Hugh continues in his role as bailiff for Sir Gilbert of Bampton. His duties lead him to investigate the mysterious death of a beadle. His search soon leads him through many midnight forays, discovering poaching, infidelity, and maybe even love. Starr has written, for me, the perfect mystery. Hugh is a wry, often self-deprecating character who teases the reader with hints of what is to come. There's lots of period detail about life in the 14th century without ever becoming pedantic. Each character in the story is deserving of their own novel. Hugh has a strong faith in God, but he's always questioning it and himself and the way people worship, so he's discussing it feels completely natural and true to the story. Starr drops just enough hints throughout the book to allow the reader to guess at the motive and criminal without being obvious. I can't say enough good about this series! I wish Hugh a long and successful career as bailiff and surgeon so that I never run out of reading material.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2010

    The Middle Ages like you never knew it

    "A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel" by Mel Starr continues the story of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff during the Middle Ages in Bampton, Britain. A former history teacher, you can tell that Starr loved his subject and wants people to understand the day-to-day lives of villagers and not just the overshadowing event (i.e. the Plague) of the time. The Middle Ages is a supporting character but it doesn't overshadow the story - which is a great murder mystery.

    What makes this a fun story is that our erstwhile sleuth makes mistakes in his thinking, doesn't understand some of the clues that the author leads us to, but also the fact that he has a regular life to lead in addition to solving the murder. The little tidbits of life in the Middle Ages flavors the story, bringing home the truth about no matter how much life changes, some things never change.

    My only complaint in the story is the romantic aspect; it seemed a little forced and out of place just as it was in the first book. With the introduction of these new supporting characters, Hugh has an excuse to leave the rural area and travel to the cosmopolitan city of Oxford. While the facts about Oxford during the 1300's are fascinating, it seems that the author could have used a different plot device to get us there.

    You don't have to read the first book in the series, however it will help shape the characters and the setting. If you want an old fashioned story with great historical facts, this is the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2013

    These are the adventures of Master Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon

    These are the adventures of Master Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon (and bailiff) in Bampton, England during the mid-14th century.  When the “beadle” (a kind of a night watchman) is found dead and missing his shoes, wolves are suspected.  But there aren’t any wolves in England, are there?  Luckily, Master Hugh is called and his investigation gets to the bottom of things, but not before other a lot of other adventurous things happen!  Once again, Hugh takes us along back and forth to Oxford and to the neighboring villages and surrounding countryside around Bampton. We get slices of medieval life and meet some very interesting characters, some who are not so nice and many who recur in later books. 

    I REALLY like this author’s style of writing, his characterizations, the descriptions, and sense of time and place that are conveyed. Sometimes the first person narrative is a bit jarring, but this series is purported to be Hugh’s journal, after all. There is some wonderful dry humor and wit, but there is also a matter-of-fact treatment of violence. Well done, I think. 

    This is the 2nd book in the series of 5 (so far) and I have read them all. Each book stands alone just fine, but I would recommend reading them in order.  I really enjoyed the series and will be watching for the next one.  Across the five books, the characterizations deepen and Hugh’s life really does spring from the pages. And, of course, you come to care a great deal about Master Hugh! 

    I wanted to write this review because I see that a lot of reviewers were given a book to review and seemed to write long disclaimers and describe the plot in such detail that I felt like I was reading an 8th grade book report. I wanted to say that I bought ALL the books for my nook and I love them.  I would not have bought the 2nd one had I not!  

    SOME of the writing is a tad repetitive – Hugh thinks about food a lot so he describes his meals quite often and when he stays at an inn with fleas, you WILL read about that too! 

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  • Posted January 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    the middle ages made interesting

    The Second Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

    Mel Starr


    Monarch Books


    Reviewed by Cindy Loven

    Set in 1365, in a small English village, Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff for Lord Gilbert Talbot finds himself in the middle of several mysterious deaths and occurences. A dead beadle (manor officer in charge of curfew and other duties for the Lord) is the trigger to all the mystery that Hugh finds himself in the middle of. It looks like an attack by a wild animal, only there are several things that trigger Hugh's suspicions. The beadles shoes are missing, and he has a caved in spot on his skull, both acts that a wild animal attack would not produce.

    Hugh's suspicions and nosing around nearly costs him his life, after an attack in the dark leaves him beaten and banged up, however in the light of day, it is realized that his attacker is dead. How that happens is beyond Hugh, because the last thing he heard, was his attacker telling someone else that Hugh was still alive.

    Normally I do not enjoy books set in this time period, they are often hard to follow because there is such a difference in that era than in ours. However this book was very interesting and the author was able to make the differences of times periods a non issue, without loosing the historical aspect of the story. A great mystery and a good story. 300 pages $14.99 US 4 stars.

    This book was provided for review purposes by Christian Bookworm Reviews, no payment was received for this review.

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