Unhallowed Ground (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Series #4)

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Overview

Another brilliant slice of medieval crime fiction

Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cowleys Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so.

Many of the town had been harmed by Thomas, and Hugh is not eager to send one of them to the gallows. Then he discovers that the priest John Kellet, atte Bridge?s partner ...

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Unhallowed Ground (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Series #4)

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Overview

Another brilliant slice of medieval crime fiction

Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cowleys Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so.

Many of the town had been harmed by Thomas, and Hugh is not eager to send one of them to the gallows. Then he discovers that the priest John Kellet, atte Bridge’s partner in crime in A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel, was covertly in Bampton at the time atte Bridge died.

Master Hugh is convinced that Kellet has murdered atte Bridge--one rogue slaughtering another. He sets out for Exeter, where Kellet now works. But there he discovers that the priest is an emaciated skeleton of a man, who mourns the folly of his past life. Hugh must return to Bampton and discover which of his friends has murdered his enemy.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Surgeon and bailiff Hugh de Singleton (The Unquiet Bones; A Corpse in St. Andrews; A Trail of Ink) searches for a killer when the most disliked man in the village is found hanging from a tree. Most believe that Thomas atte Bridge died by his own hand, but Hugh and his pregnant wife, Kate, are not so sure. Still, finding the murderer of a man almost everyone wanted dead will be no small task. Peril appears at every turn as the two search for clues that lead them to Exeter and back again. VERDICT Fans of medieval mysteries will revel in Starr's fourth lively blending of intriguing suspense and telling historical detail.
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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
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2012

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    Finished Strong After Slow Start

    It was pretty good. It was slow starting so I set it aside and read 2 or 3 other books after starting it. I won this book in a blog contest, so that's the main reason I read it. I don't believe I would've purchased this book on my own initiative. It made me consider some other books I've read that have whodunit aspects but aren't actually of the mystery genre because all of the 'maybe it's him' was taking longer than I'd like. Then, I realized they do the same in other books (the first that came to mind was The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives)& sitcoms, so I could stick it out. It was a decent read nonetheless.

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    UNHALLOWED GROUND by Mel Starr is a medieval police historical f

    UNHALLOWED GROUND by Mel Starr is a medieval police historical fiction. It is book #4 in the “ Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon” series,but can be
    read as a stand alone. See,”The Unquiet Bones”,”A Corpse at St Andrew’s Chapel”,and “A Trail of Ink”. The saga of Hugh de Singleton continues as a tale of medieval murder,mystery,and life. “Unhallowed Ground” follows Singleton as he searches for a killer through Exeter and Bampton,as he discovers corruption,and past mistakes. Fast paced,full of drama and adventure with vivid descriptions. Interesting characters who will carry you away. A multi-layered story with a compelling mystery told in vivid details. A great read for anyone who enjoy mystery,medieval times,medical marvels and adventure. Received for an honest review from Library Thing and the publisher. Details can be found at Kregel Publications,the author’s website, and My Book Addiction and More.
    RATING: 4
    HEAT RATING: Sweet: No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except some kissing. No graphic violence or profanity.
    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Interesting

    I received a copy of UNHALLOWED GROUND by Mel Starr from Kregel. I’d never heard of the “Hugh de Singleton, surgeon” series before, but now that I’ve read this fourth chronicle, I feel inclined to read the others. Hugh de Singleton is not only a surgeon, but he is also Lord Gilbert Talbot’s bailiff. I have always been fascinated by the Middle Ages, the time period this series takes place in, and so was thrilled to immerse myself in the pages. It’s a fast read at only 224 pages, and includes a tantalizing glimpse at the fifth book in the series.

    UNHALLOWED GROUND begins in the year 1366 when Thomas ate Bridge is found hanging. As a man of ill repute, the people declare the deed a suicide and are please that Thomas is gone. Hugh de Singleton, however, feels there is more to the hanging than suicide. Thomas has a mark on his wrist, as though he were hung, and mud only on the heels of his boots, not on the stool he supposedly used. Hugh de Singleton believes Thomas was murdered, and sets out to find the killer. I won’t give the mystery away, but it is cunningly written, shifting through many suspects and numerous motives. Once I began chapter one, I couldn’t stop reading until I had completed the book. I did guess at the murderer about halfway through, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story.

    UNHALLOWED GROUND starts with action, and never lets up. The historical mystery aspect reminded me of the middle grade “Lady Grace Cavendish” mysteries, which my cousin introduced me to a year ago. I have loved history since I was a child, and even more so now after studying my genealogy, which I can trace back to the Middle Ages. UNHALLOWED GROUND is rich in historic details, so it was easy to picture my ancestors in the setting. The dialogue is very realistic, and my mind kept inserting accents.

    Although I enjoyed reading the book, a few things stood out to me. At times I felt distant from the story, and would have liked more insight into High de Singleton’s emotions. Oftentimes, the author told events, rather than showing them, and when Hugh de Singleton occasionally addressed the reader as “you,” I was jarred from the story.

    Overall, I rate the story four out of five starts. I recommend UNHALLOWED GROUND to any fans of mysteries and historic fiction.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent!

    I had the privilege of having read Mel Starr’s A Trail of Ink and as much as I enjoyed that one I’d have to say I’ve enjoyed Unhallowed Ground just as much or maybe more. This is the fourth chronicle of a surgeon by the name of Hugh de Singleton who is living and working in the 1300′s and as one will start realizing as they read, you will be taken fully back into that time with the language as well as how operations are performed – I found the performance of the couching surgery for cataracts quite interesting. The author has provided a glossary at the beginning so that unfamiliar terms can be understood at a glance but it’s not really hard to figure out what certain terms mean, although figuring out the holidays celebrated then does take some calculation.

    This is written by de Singleton, it’s his journal of his daily life as he goes about his life being a bailiff, surgeon, newly married and soon-to-be father. This book isn’t being written about him but rather by him so if you don’t want to read a book that is detailing events by the main character then you may want to pass this up. Yes we are told what he has for breakfast several times as well as other dining details, but I found it to be the mundane parts of the book that had me more relating to the characters.

    Some parts really struck me, such as how Hugh de Singleton struggles with not believing everything the Church teaches or the current medical ideas of the day, such as back in the day Galen (I had to google this man) taught that a woman who was raped couldn’t become pregnant during said assault unless she was a willing participant – this mind set occurs in one of de Singleton’s cases that must be dealt with while he is investigating what most believe is a suicide when he believes otherwise.

    The historical accounts are what draws me in, since I enjoy history this book really intrigued me as I read about certain beliefs, including those of the Church, that some physicians of the day were questioning but couldn’t say much out loud for fear of reprisals. Hugh de Singleton mentions a few times how he fears that something he writes could be found by a Priest or Bishop but questions whether they’d concern themselves with him. I almost forgot I was reading a book by a real, living author because I got so wrapped up in Hugh’s life in this book that he became almost real and it felt like I was truly reading his account. A book to be truly enjoyed and savored.

    **I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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  • Posted January 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A middle ages C.S.I.

    I'll state right up front that I have not read any of Mel Star's other novels involving Hugh de Singleton. There are three and they may be found here. I found, however, this story was not connected to the other three in plot, but simply in characters. Thus, I didn't feel like I was missing out on something and I enjoyed this very much. I find it difficult to keep up with multi-volumn books these days and reading #4 in a series of at least four (there's a teaser at the end looking toward book #5) was not a bothersome task to me.

    I enjoyed this book a great deal. Some have indicated that it is not as exciting as Star's earlier works, but I'm wondering if they are a bit jaded, having read all the others and are living on the law of diminishing returns without realizing it. Star's descriptive backgrounds of both countryside and people fascinated me. I found many of them to be colorful. And I simply adored the marriage relationship between Hugh and Kate.

    If there was any frustration, it came in sympathizing with Hugh in trying to find a killer who just might not exist. And doing so among people you know, do business with nearly everyday and are friends with only made this tension rise as the book moved on. Coming up short at nearly every turn and discovery at first made me want to yell at the author. Yet, I've discovered this usually means they've done an excellent job of drawing me in without my being aware.

    So, well done and an excellent read. I recommend you get a hold of all four of the existing books by Mel Star and get ready for book number 5, due out sometime in 2012.

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  • Posted January 22, 2012

    Great for the intense reader!

    Having read A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr I was anxious to read Unhallowed Ground, the Fourth Chronicle (book) of Hugh de Singleton.
    Master Hugh is now married to the lovely, Kate. And to be quite honest as I read this book I kept thinking of Sherlock Holmes and his great sidekick, Watson.
    Kate is quite observant and even though she brings items to Master Hugh's attention she never usurps him in the investigation.
    Now, Thomas atte Bridge, has been found hanging from a tree. Dead. But no one liked him...for he was as mean as an old alley cat. However, Master Hugh finds evidence that Thomas did not hang himself...Thomas was murdered! Now to just prove it!
    This is not a book for the faint of heart! Mel Starr does an excellent job of describing primitive medical practices and the instruments used.
    This is a wonderful mystery full of suspense where Lord Gilbert Talbot tries to discover who murdered Thomas. Thomas had so many enemies that this is no easy task. Throughout this skillfully written medieval mystery Master Hugh is attacked and his arm is nearly cut off, his pregnant wife fears for her life and their home is set on fire. Bt why?
    This is one of those suspense reads that takes the reader back in time. The language, the food and the primitive surgical instruments all attest to a well thought out, extremely well written read with an ending that leaves us waiting for the next in this series.
    *This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A bit uneven.

    In this fourth book of the Huge De Singleton series we find Hugh now happily married and back in Bampton. An old adversary is found hanging by the neck at the cross roads where suicides are buried. The coroner is convinced it is suicide and Hugh knows it is not. He is not surprised when his inquiries turn up one suspect after another after all Thomas Atte Bridge or his brother had bullied, cheated and stolen from many in this small community.
    I have a few gripes with is story, and they are minor. First being did Mr. Starr need to tell you Hugh has bread and ale every morning. I kind of got that after the third time he tells us Hugh had bread and ale for breakfast I didn’t need to hear it so often. The other is that so many of the characters are from passed books that is was at times difficult to remember just who he was talking about. I really wanted to love this book, because I have invested a lot of time on Hugh’s story. But I so like the characters of Hugh and Kate that I will continue on, I really don’t think Starr has hit his stride, he shows an understanding of the time period, it is well researched and I have faith that once Starr’s writing evens out he will be brilliant. 3 stars

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mystery back in 1366

    As this is the fourth chronicle of Hugh de Singleton surgeon, I am starting at the end of the story but that is ok as I begin to read it all fell into place.



    When Thomas atte Bridge that no one like was found hanging from a tree everyone thought he had taken his own life, but Master Hugh thought other wise. He though that the man had been murdered and he was going to find out who did it. As he was beginning his investigation he didn't want to get any one else involved as they all had been harmed one way or other by Thomas.



    The vicar would not allow Thomas to be buried in the church graveyard as they all believed he had taken his own life so he was buried at the edge of Gilber's pasture. Before they had cut Thomas down from the tree Master Hugh had noticed some twigs stuck to his shoes and after he was on the ground he noticed his lip was swollen and a tooth loose. He also pulled his sleeves up and saw what looked like a rope mark on his wrist and a man that took his own life would not have tied his own wrist.

    So not the chase begins for Master Hugh as he travels around trying to find who the murderer was as he believed now that he had been murdered.

    I want to thank Kregel Publications as they included me in this blog tour. The book was sent to me free and I chose the way I reviewed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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