Monday, January 23, 2012

Unhallowed Ground by Mel R Starr

Unhallowed Ground 
The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
by Mel R Starr
ISBN: 978-0857210586
240 pages, Mystery, 
Available: $8.88 Paperback, $8.44 Kindle

About the Book:
Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cowleys Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so.

Many of 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 priest John Kellet, atte Bridge’s partner in crime in A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel was covertly in Bampton at the time atte Bridge died.

Master Hugh is convinced that Kellet has murdered atte Bridge--one rogue slaughtering another. He sets out for Exeter, where atte Bridge now works. But there he discovers 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:
I found this book rather hard to read. What I did like about the book was the depth of the history, the research and the author's understanding of the period written about in the book. I also really liked the characters of Hugh & Kate who are both very strong, suited to each other and even though they (especially Hugh) have to make tough decisions when it comes to people they know - they do it. 

Unhallowed Ground refers to the church's stance that someone who either has committed suicide or is an executed criminal being refused burial in the church graveyard. The book opens with the scene of atte Bridge hanging from a noose outside the burial area for said suicide victims and criminals. The only sign that something may have happened was a little mud on the back of his shoes and a very short trail that looks like someone may have been drug. Everyone hated atte Bridge and so no one seems to inclined to consider that foul play may have ocurred - even our hero Hugh has a hard time making the decision to do what's right.

I'm not really going to say much else about the book. I personally had some trouble reading this book. Unfortunately it wasn't for me. It's very well written, thoroughly researched and if you like regency or period pieces along with a good mystery you'll more than likely like it. I suggest reading this excerpt before you purchase it and then decide - 

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.

I am participating in a book tour set up by Kregel Publications. I was given a copy of Unhallowed Ground to read and review. No $ exchanged hands and I wasn't asked to write a positive review. 

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