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The Unquiet Bones: The First Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Paperback – 19 Sep 2008


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The Unquiet Bones: The First Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon + A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel: 2 (The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon) + A Trail of Ink: 3 (The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (19 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854248855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854248855
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"I would almost have to assume that Mel Starr had a previous life in 14th-century England, so incredibly realistic are his descriptions of life then and his dialogue. The author brings it to life with panache. Starr's lavish use of Medieval English adds a saucy flavoring to his tale. You will enjoy this excellent excursion into the past!" -- Dr Paul Maier

About the Author

Mel Starr has spent many years teaching history, and has studied medieval surgery and medieval English. He lives in Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. Leslie on 8 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hugh de Singleton is the central character in the book, and as a surgeon, makes a pleasant departure from the frequently found sleuthing monks etc. He's got quite a dry wit and is amusingly self-aware of his own foibles, making him likeable and engaging. The insights into medical practices of the era are fascinating and not overbearing on the narrative, but the use of a Yorkshire-type dialect for the peasants of Oxfordshire is a little jarring, as is the inconsistent spelling of plough (sometimes "plow", aarrghh).

Overall, an enjoyable and diverting read, not overly profound, but quite fun. I'll probably get the next one.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Shaw on 26 Feb. 2010
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I am a big fan of historical mysteries, so was very disappointed with this, particularly since many of the other reviews vere so positive about it. It is plodding, pedestrian, has an inutterably boring protagonist, and replaces a genuine sympathy for the period with lots of unnecessary medieval terminology (hence the lengthy glossary at the front!). The dialogue is stilted and over worked and shows that the author clearly has no ear for English vernacular, such as has been captured brilliantly by writers like Ariana Franklin. I have to admit that I haven't finished the book, but to be honest, Melvyn Starr hasn't made me care enough about any of the characters or the situations they find themselves in to make me want to finish it.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ms. E. J. White on 15 April 2009
Format: Paperback
..the result is usually very odd, as witness the result in this book.

It's not a bad story although I guessed the why and who long long before Our Hero did, and usually I don't - I don't even like to, as I prefer to be surprised. But it was really very obvious.

I love history-mysteries and this general period is my favourite, so I was truly looking forward to reading it. It's just... the attempts at writing 'regional' accents for some of the more rustic characters not only fell flat, they jarred and reminded me that this was written by someone who is not a natural 'Queen's English' speaker, and is either using what he thinks is an accent, or pulling it from a different region altogether.

But that aside, and if the writer can resist the temptation to embellish uneccessarily, the background details were pleasant, the lead character sympathetic, the details of his profession nicely detailed, albeit eye-watering in some cases!!

I'll probably get the next book in the series as I'm interested to see where the romantic sub-plot leads - although please don't go to Goodrich Castle again - I know that castle very well indeed and it's clear the author has either never actually been there or visited without understanding the original layout.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on 16 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very well written and yet easy to read. I particularly enjoyed the insights into Surgery in the middle ages. The main character was entirely believable and sympathetic. I look forward to the next installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. A. Bourne on 8 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Now that Falco has retired (Lindsey Davies's roman investigator) I needed a new protagonist and I think I've found him. I really liked this book, the story is good and the characters believable, as the first in a series there is a lot of feet finding and sometimes the narrative appears a little too condensed and hurried but all in all it is well paced, holds the interest and has a nice twist. The style of writing, in the first person and dialectal, is not something I usually take to but this book is a very easy read, the tale does not need a huge amount of concentration as the story is quite simple and the end will be fairly obvious to historical crime sleuths but interesting nonetheless. As the series progresses I am sure the characters will develop so I bought the others in the series on Kindle as I am hooked.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Livvy M on 25 May 2011
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The hero, Hugh de Singleton, is an engaging character with a dry, self-deprecating wit. However, I found the plot predictable and one-dimensional. There were no red herrings, so it wasn't hard to work out the resolution of the "mystery".

It would have been a reasonable, airport read if it hadn't been for the grating American spellings (plow, defense, gray etc) and the risible "dialect" spoken by the lower orders. Now I don't know if Mel Starr researched how mediaeval Oxford peasants actually spoke, or even how country folk from that part of the world speak today, but it struck me as more Yorkshire than anything else. That said, however, the light thrown on early medical practices was quite interesting, and I am willing to give the next volume in the series a chance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ljay on 31 Mar. 2014
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Quite a good read and historically accurate Mell Starr is a little wordy in places, but not so much that it detracts from the story
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OK is 3-star on Amazon rating and that is what this book is. Does not approach C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series, but mildly entertaining and with relatively few Americanisms. The second book in the series grated here and there with the attempt at local dialect but generally, and sensibly, simple speech is used. Just as well, as few of us now know how people spoke in this period. I do not find establishing the social preoccupations with eating and drinking, hierarchy of the manor and society etc. tedious - as some reviewers evidently did, because it helps establish background and 'colour'.The first story has more 'weight' than the second, but those are the only two that I have read. I am slightly concerned that the best part was the scene-setting in the first. However, I might buy another. A pleasant read for the train, if not very challenging.
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