Mar 11, 2011

A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr

An excellent medieval whodunit by the author of The Unquiet Bones and A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel

Some valuable books have been stolen from Master John Wyclif, the well known scholar and Bible translator. He calls upon his friend and former pupil, Hugh de Singleton, to investigate. Hugh's investigation leads him to Oxford where he again encounters Kate, the only woman who has tempted him to leave bachelor life behind, but Kate has another serious suitor. As Hugh's pursuit of Kate becomes more successful, mysterious accidents begin to occur. Are these accidents tied to the missing books, or to his pursuit of Kate?

One of the stolen books turns up alongside the drowned body of a poor Oxford scholar. Another accident? Hugh certainly doesn t think so, but it will take all of his surgeon s skills to prove.

So begins another delightful and intriguing tale from the life of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon in the medieval village of Bampton. Masterfully researched by medieval scholar Mel Starr, the setting of the novel can be visited and recognized in modern-day England. Enjoy more of Hugh s dry wit, romantic interests, evolving faith, and dogged determination as he pursues his third case as bailiff of Bampton.


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.

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Early last year, I had the pleasure of reading A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel, and was eager to read A Trail of Ink, the continuing story of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon.

In this book, the third chronicle, we are transported back to the late 1300's. We see life through the eyes of the surgeon, as envisioned with much research from the author Mel Starr.

I found myself drawn into the culture, shortly after the plague in the early 1400's, when a quarter of the population died. It was a pleasure and eye-opener to be able to experience the culture, simplicity of life, and the harsh realities as portrayed by the author. I especially enjoyed the accounts of the simple meals, their enthusiasm about daily life, and their simple enjoyment at being alive.

Most of our knowledge comes through the times in history, as shown in this book. I couldn't help but  wonder how we would react to similar circumstances. I thank Mel Starr for reminding us about where we came from, and the hardship of times long past.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes to know what times were like in years gone by and give a rating of 5 out of 5. A most enjoyable read indeed!

This review was completed by my husband, Dick.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of A Trail of Ink through Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book too. Can't wait to get my hands on his other books. :O)