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Written in the first person, Hugh de Singleton turns out to be an affable chap, eager to please his patron, Lord Gilbert.


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When the bones of a young girl are found in Gilbert's castle cesspit, Hugh is commissioned to play detective to solve the mystery. Read the first chapter here. While undoubtedly a page-turner, 'The Unquiet Bones' reads a little like a potential script for a TV drama: long on dialogue and short on description.

Mel Starr - Book Series In Order

Rather too many sentences start with 'I' in quick succession, and there is little to explain Hugh's remarkable medical acumen and experience given he is new to the job. In short, I would have liked more literariness! However, the story has a twist or two and I found myself rooting for the modest Hugh, especially in his aspiring to the beautiful Lady Joan who is way above his station. And I love history books from when I was young :- Will look for the 2nd one in this series soo I enjoyed this book.

And I love history books from when I was young :- Will look for the 2nd one in this series soon. Feb 02, Scargosun rated it liked it. I found it odd that this book was supposed to be in the 'religious fiction' section when I went looking for it. I thought it was just historical fiction. I bought it anyway even though I am not a fan of organized religion to say the least. The book has some strong religious overtones but it does not overshadow the the story as a whole which I think can be difficult but the author does it well.

The story fol I found it odd that this book was supposed to be in the 'religious fiction' section when I went looking for it.

Phillips, Craig & Dean - These Bones (Official Pseudo Video)

The story follows a Medieval surgeon and his quest to solve a few murders for his new employer, a lord he stitched up during a chance encounter. At first, it is all about one body found in the cesspit of the castle but then the bodies start adding up. Hugh must juggle his new career as a surgeon and an appointment by the lord to find out who the bodies are and who killed them. The book is well written by someone who is well versed in not only Medieval history, but Medieval medical history.

It is an easy read but well worth that read. I will definitely be reading the other two in the series. Dec 18, Richard Derus rated it liked it. I went with the author to fourteenth century Oxford and Bampton, visiting an England pretty well mapped in fiction by now. Still and all, Mr. Starr's characters made agreeable traveling companions, and his plot kept me interested.

Peter Midgley

A university trained surgeon goes to set up practice in a small English country village because he accidentally helps the Lord of said village when he suffers a minor injury in Oxford. A murder takes place, and Hugh de Singleton, newly minted surgeon, uses his knowledge and his wits to seek the killer of a local lightskirted lass. More murders occur, and the perpetrator is brought before the law; but Hugh, as Starr has made him, seems unsure if justice was done, or merely the law was served.

Religion looms large in this book, but quite appropriately so, since this is the time of the Catholic Church's greatest power. John Wyclif, he of the vernacular Bible and proto-Rreformation figure, was a mere irritation at that point, so the hegemony over spiritual matters and the temporal power of the Church weren't in serious question.

It's agreeably done, this mystery. I'm not sufficiently enamored to seek out others in the series. I don't like pseudo-archaic dialect much, but this isn't egregious. I'd simply prefer to spend my eyeblinks elsewhere in future. Read away, historical mystery fans, nothing here will jolt you. I reminded me a little bit of Brother Cadfael. Hugh de Singleton is a pleasant narrator. Jun 19, Manybooks rated it it was ok Shelves: book-reviews , historical-mystery. Although Melvin R. And while The Unquiet Bones was a quick read and also rather a fun and diverting read, I certainly did not and do not at ALL feel that same and special sense of historic time and place I always tend to find when I reread my collection of Brother Ca Although Melvin R.

And while The Unquiet Bones was a quick read and also rather a fun and diverting read, I certainly did not and do not at ALL feel that same and special sense of historic time and place I always tend to find when I reread my collection of Brother Cadfael mysteries and almost all of them count as absolute personal favourites or when I read a new Matthew Bartholomew mystery or reread my favourites of this oh so appealing and enthralling Mediaeval Cambridge University mystery series.

For while I can often even in considerable detail recall the specifics of the latter two series, and have always appreciated that history, that a description of the time, the everyday happenings, the lives of the people, of the characters both presented and alluded to are generally always front and centre with both Ellis Peters and Susanna Gregory, with Melvin R.

The Unquiet Bones: The First Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

Starr, while Hugh de Singleton is an appealing enough individual, there is just not that personal and historic connection to and for me and the only detail that I do actually vividly and more than a bit painfully recall is that the manner in which the author has shown religion is or at least feels uncomfortably preachy, almost as though Melvin B.

Starr and by extension Hugh de Singleton were trying to actively convert me to Medieaeval Catholicism, something that I certainly have NOT EVER experienced with either the Brother Cadfael or the Matthew Bartholomew series, and the former is set in a monastery, and the latter at Medieaval Cambridge University, and at a time where both fellows and students had to at least take minor orders and most of the main university officials were in fact monks or friars. Two stars, and while I do in fact have the entire Hugh de Singleton series so far on my to-read list, I am actually not so sure I really want to continue with it.

Aug 13, Athena rated it liked it Recommends it for: historical fiction, murder mystery fans. Shelves: medieval-england , mysteries , historical-fiction , at-library.

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The conversations themselves seem stilted and exist not to show us something more of Hugh, but to show us the author's own religious beliefs. A secondary drawback is the author's habit of pre-shadowing: 'it must've been God's Will that we did thus-and 3. A secondary drawback is the author's habit of pre-shadowing: 'it must've been God's Will that we did thus-and-such' before he takes us through thus-and-such.

That's just irritating. Those issues aside, Starr has done an excellent job of conveying a slice of 14th-century life. His era and people seem realistic and he clearly knows whereof he writes. The mystery itself takes a few unexpected turns and they're well done: clearly the sort of thing that might have and probably did happen in that time. There's a very clear sense of the smallness of life in the middle ages: one knew one's neighbors and perhaps a few people within a small radius of maybe a few miles, but very few people had much sense of anything beyond that whether they lived in town or country.

It's the general feeling of the era that Starr conveys which makes me want to read more of his work: I just hope he can leave out some of the overt preaching because it's not necessary to the strength of what he can write. Oct 14, Veronica rated it liked it Shelves: historical-mystery , library-book. But now I found myself in a struggle against the calamity of murder, the death of the young. I felt unequal to the assignment. Fate soon crosses his path with that of a local Lord and before long sets him on the task of solving multi "I had chosen to spend my life battling against ignoble death - against wasting disease and injury.

Fate soon crosses his path with that of a local Lord and before long sets him on the task of solving multiple murders. There's nothing about this story that will clamor for your attention or cause you to stay up way too late into the night to see what happens next, but there is a definite sense of pleasantness about it, the sense you get from a comfortable read, and Hugh makes for a very likable fellow with a wry sense of humor. The glossary of terms was very much appreciated by this non-expert on anything medieval. How else would I have known that "sixth hour" is actually noon?

View 2 comments. Jul 27, Barb rated it it was ok Shelves: read-in , free-on-kindle , historical-fiction-medieval , historical-mystery. I'd been looking forward to reading this for a while. It was hard to find a copy locally; I finally got my hands on an ILL through my library. I was a bit disappointed in the story as a whole, the mystery wasn't very complicated and there wasn't much in the way of character development.

The protagonist seems to stumble on to the truth a bit too easily for my tastes and the overall feel to the book is light and fluffy. I am certain I will remember very little of this a year from now. I like a lot o I'd been looking forward to reading this for a while. I like a lot of detail so I can imagine a story and the characters, there weren't enough details to satisfy me. Plot-wise things felt far too predictable to keep me guessing or entertained. I need a little more meat on the bones of a story to feel satisfied. View 1 comment. This is a wonderfully atmospheric and obviously well researched historical mystery taking place in 14th Century England.

It has an unusual protagonist in that he is a "modern" surgeon for the times. He has what we might consider very enlightened views for a doctor in the Middle Ages. But somehow he stumbles into the job of investigating a couple of murders even though he has no experience. I really enjoyed the plot and the characters. The author's attention to historical detail is wonderful. Nov 17, Meikoyim rated it really liked it Shelves: favourites , historical-mystery-thriller. I found myself easily picking up series after series the last couple months, I wonder whether 'tis to do with the deprivation of reading for the months prior.

Maybe they are down to my own neglect for other activities but nevertheless I have stopped a good while before I picked up the books again. And series are just so handy on the Kindle, only one click away But I think my Anglophile better yet, Brittophile, which isn't a word but should be tendency is increasing these days, having I found myself easily picking up series after series the last couple months, I wonder whether 'tis to do with the deprivation of reading for the months prior.

But I think my Anglophile better yet, Brittophile, which isn't a word but should be tendency is increasing these days, having developed a renewed liking for the dry humour and wry snark Brit authors insert into their work and give to their characters. Hugh de Singleton captured my attention first with his fifth book, more specifically, its cover.

I looked each of the entries up on both Amazon and Goodreads, and given a series was able to grow onto a fifth instalment with an average rating of above 3. As with most series as long as I'm permitted to I started with the first, and it did not disappoint. It's entertaining, with one liners of quick wit and dry humour enough to linger for a while. I think the author tried to reach for more, he tried to insert some deep philosophy on theology and religious undertone in the stories and sometimes he's close to succeeding.

I get the philosophic parts, but the religious parts escape my understanding and like most text about the subject I skim through those lines. I like the tone the author chose though, not overtly lecturing and more self-justifying, making it more approachable than most. I suppose it's down to the setting, back in those days the 14th century everyone was religious whether noble or peasant, and those with education had nothing to study but Latin scriptures that was passed down in the school of religion.

Hugh de Singleton reminded me a bit of Adelia, from the Mistress of the Art of Death series, set in Cambridgeshire if my memory doesn't fail me almost two hundred years prior. A female doctor before her time and a male surgeon pioneering his era, both in the then heart of England, fighting the old ways that were. With the passing of Ariana Franklin I was sad that my adventures to that of medieval England would have to cease, now with the arrival of Hugh de Singleton, my travels shall resume.

I am thankful for that. And for such service I'm willing to overlook or even try to understand the theological part included in these chapters and adventures. The first entry of the series had a simple enough plot with just enough twist to last through the end of the pages. But given it's a first book I'm willing to hold my judgement against this lack of depth until I finish more of the series.

Shelves: historical-mysteries. An entertaining historical mystery set in fourteenth-century England, "The Unquiet Bones" by Mel Starr introduces Hugh de Singleton, the fourth and last son of a minor knight from the country of Lancashire, who, while attending Oxford, decides that rather than law, he will move to Paris and study surgery. And so it is as a surgeon he is called to tend to his patient, Lord Gilbert, lord of Bampton Castle.

Peter Midgley does not shy away from politics, whether documenting efforts to uproot colonialism or the number of murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. In these dramatic and uncompromising poems, Midgley roves between Canada and Africa, stopping briefly to consider struggles for democracy in places as diverse as Hong Kong and Ancient Rome. Working in a variety of languages and referencing traditional African poem forms, Midgley expands our ideas of poetry and language in this book. These are physical poems, poems where you can hear the shells exploding and feel the sea ice closing in on you, poems that linger long in your memory.

It honours all of them and reminds the reader of the physicality, substantiality of words. They are just beautiful to hold in the mouth.