Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tainted Coin by Mel Starr - REVIEWED

About the Book:

It is the autumn of 1367. Master Hugh is enjoying the peaceful life of Bampton when a badly beaten man is found under the porch of St. Andrew's Chapel. The dying man is a chapman--a traveling merchant. Before he is buried in the chapel grounds, an ancient, corroded coin is found in the man's mouth.
Master Hugh's quest for the chapman's assailants, and his search for the origin of the coin, begins to make progress--but there are men of wealth and power in league with his old nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe, who wish to end his search . . . permanently.
But Master Hugh, and his assistant, the groom Arthur, are determined to uncover the thieves and murderers, and the source of the chapman's coin. They do, but not before they become involved with a kidnapped maiden, a tyrannical abbot, and a suffering monk--who needs Master Hugh's surgical skills and in return provides clues that assist Hugh in solving the mystery of the tainted coin.

My Thoughts:

Men to often reject the requirements God places upon them, and rather place burdens upon other men which God does not.”  (p.211)

Hugh de Singleton finds himself in a very multi-layered mystery that draws characters from all walks of life and cleverly displays the many levels of 14th century society and the effect each role had upon England’s citizens.  Hugh himself winds up caught up between the layers of society and forced to make decisions that are on the razor’s edge of breaking the law.  He must sort through the burdens that are God-given and man-made and decide how best to help those who come to him for aide.

Hugh de Singleton’s character never fails to endear himself to me and those who he so humbly serves as surgeon and bailiff. In this fifth chronicle of Mel Starr’s mysteries, Singleton’s pursuit of murderers and thieves puts his wife and child in harm’s way! This role of family-man adds yet another level of emotional depth to an already brilliant character!

In addition to an unsolved murder, a mysterious coin and a rather unexpected treasure hunt, Hugh himself winds up on the receiving end of a weapon!  The reader must stay glued to the page with even more intensity to discern the well-being not only of Hugh but a growing number of walking wounded!

I must say there seems to be an ever growing number of folks in this story who require the skills of a surgeon/bailiff!  Yet among all of the action, the author still paces the story so that the reader is able to fully enjoy life in a small English village in the 14th century! The sights, smells, tastes and sounds of this time period envelop the reader.  Transported back to a time where rudimentary sleuthing skills accomplish much, the reader realizes anew that some questions in life (and crime) remain unanswered.

I’m a HUGE fan of this 14th century surgeon!  Hugh de Singleton could match skills with any of the 21st century CSI agents!  I can’t wait to see what he is called to do next!

You can purchase your copy HERE today!

About 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.
Visit the author’s website.

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