About the Book:
Master Hugh, Kate, and their children attend the Midsummer's Eve fire. The next morning Hugh hears the passing bell ring from the Church of St. Beornwald, and moments later is summoned. Tenants collecting the ashes to spread upon their fields have found burned bones. Master Hugh learns of several men of Bampton and nearby villages who have gone missing recently. Most are soon found, some alive,...
“Wounds may heal, regret seldom does.” (p. 92)
Master Hugh de Singleton’s service as surgeon and bailiff for Lord Gilbert Talbot is one filled with both wounds and regret. I’ve followed Hugh through many adventures, and this is the first time that either he or his wife Kate had questioned their roles of service to their community. Master Hugh never wavers in his determination to identify and bring justice for the person whose remains were discovered amid the ashes of the Midsummer’s Eve fire. However, I believe he has suffered more in his search for answers in this story than ever before.
I also think he encounters more dead ends and false leads in his pursuit of justice than ever before, because there seems to be another group equally determined to prevent his discovery of answers as he is determined to find them. This tension between the warring factions in this story even brings Lord Talbot himself out into the fray! This is a serious clash of intent!!
Even though Master Hugh and his lovely family remain the focus of normalcy and decency in the story, their roles come under greater demand than ever before. There also seems to be an even greater cloud of deception than ever before, and that causes even the reader to question the worth of discovering the answers and justice for the poor soul who has clearly suffered more dearly than anyone!
Once again, Mel Starr has written a clever and intriguing tale of 14th century detective work! As always, the dialogue, the interaction among the characters, the sheer battle of will between right and wrong draws me in and keeps me captive from first to last page! Ashes to Ashes is an excellent addition to the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, and his next adventure promises to be even more fraught with danger!
About the Author: (from his web page)
Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an 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 married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Naperville, IL, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.