Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr - REVIEWED!

About the Book: (from the publisher)

Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cow-leys Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh finds evidence that this may not be so. Many in 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 worldly and corrupt priest John Kellet had been covertly in Bampton at the time atte Bridge died. Master Hugh is convinced that Kellet has murdered atte Bridge – one rogue slaughtering another. Searching for proof he sets out for Exeter, where Kellet now works. But there he finds 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...

My Thoughts:

Woe is often the coin by which we pay for bliss.” (p. 40)

Hugh de Singleton has a unique way of stating truth about life as he perceives it to be in 1366 England. I fell in love with this quirky character on the pages of Mel Starr’s first Singleton mystery, The Unquiet Bones, and have grown to love him more with each passing tale. As I’ve stated in earlier reviews of this series, Starr’s books are like a CSI episode set long ago. Hugh is no longer solo in his pursuits of justice either! With his new wife Kate by his side, his pursuits of justice are made all the more endearing!

As always, the tale is peppered with the most intriguing details of long ago daily living! Did you know they used to levy a fine on folks who has sex outside of marriage!? That’s a leirwite! And the fine for bearing a child outside of wedlock? A childwite of course! And a man could not be convicted for rape if the woman he raped conceived a child! The law certainly was stacked against the women of the day, but oh what fascinating details it adds to Starr’s tales!

And I love a book that compels me to take notes! I find myself listing the suspects one by one as I read, and I never figure out the real culprit of the crime! It’s always a surprise! I love that!! All along the way, Hugh de Singleton is quietly gathering his clues, his suspects and his thoughts of the matter, and he always solves a mystery in the most unexpected way!

If you haven’t introduced your mind to the books from Mel Starr’s pen, please do so immediately! You won’t be disappointed! I promise!!

About the Author:
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.

Please send questions or comments to: Mel Starr.

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