While "A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel" was a really great read it definitely was not what I was expecting. I first came across this title when I was perusing the most recent listing of books needing to be reviewed. The title sounded intriguing; it sounded medieval and having a corpse found outside a place of worship made me wonder if there would be an unnatural element like a werewolf or vampire included in the tale. I performed my customary Amazon research and the plot description seemed to validate my initial feelings.
It's spring. The year is 1365 and Alan the beadle, or manor officer, left at dusk one evening to ensure no residents were lingering outside after curfew. He never returned home. The next morning Alan's wife, Matilda, sought assistance from Master Hugh de Singleton the surgeon and manor's bailiff. Two days later Alan's body is discovered in the hedge on the way to St Andrew's Chapel. His throat has been ripped open, his head is barely attached to his body and his face, hands and forearms are covered with deep lacerations. The coroner surmises that a wolf has inflicted all of this damage yet Master Hugh is not convinced. Alan suffered mortal wounds to the throat and the head yet neither the coroner nor the investigators can find more than a drop or two of blood where his body was discovered.
So, I requested "A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel" to be sent to me. It arrived and I sat down with it a few days later. Wow, what a great book! Mel Starr, the author, has a really great writing style and I enjoyed the book immensely. I liked that the book was written in the first person and I also liked that it's medieval history. Starr did a phenomenal job with the time period, the language, the religious aspects and the characters while winding multiple mysteries throughout the tale.
In closing I give "A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel" a five-star rating. A fantastic read for young adults and older and I look forward to reading more by Mel Starr in future.
Charline Ratcliff, author
"The Curse of Nefertiti"
#2 Hugh de Singleton medieval mystery set in 1360's in the town of Bampton, UK. Still recovering from the plague two decades previously, a spate of lawlessness seems to have taken over the countryside as Hugh, a surgeon, settles into his double role as Bailiff of Bampton Castle for Lord Gilbert Talbot. When Alan the beadle is found dead--first presumed attacked by a wolf, later noted to have been shot with an arrow--Hugh must investigate the death and is attacked several times himself for his trouble. As he follows several twisty, tenuous threads trying to solve several small mysteries that come together in a somewhat pedestrian, obvious conclusion.
That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the book--I did, very much. The sense of time and place provided by the author is outstanding and indeed is the strong point of this series so far. I do like Hugh, but he seems to be just developing as a character. The writing style is at times a bit off-putting and doesn't always flow smoothly, and also with several repetitive phrases that seemed to stand out sometimes. But the entire package was quite enjoyable and I look forward to getting to know Hugh better in the next book.
Excellent second book the Hugh De Sigleton Series. I love the historical description of the time, all the different food (most sound awful) description of dirty people, clothes, household. You can picture the setting and it people very well. I love Hugh and the way his character is growing in this books. I felt the mystery is second to the historic setting and its character. Can't wait to get book 3.