Sunday, January 20, 2013

Unhallowed Ground

Title:  Unhallowed Ground (Hugh de Singleton #4)
Author:  Melvin R. Starr
Pages:  239
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Monarch Books
                In this fourth installment of the Hugh de Singleton Chronicles, the action takes place partly in Bampton and partly in Exeter.  A new year has been rung in, that being 1366.  Hugh is eating his breakfast when his front door is pounded upon.  He opens the door to the coroner and is told his enemy, Thomas atte Bridge, has been found dead.  Thomas is found hanging from a tree a few paces from the road in the area where those who commit suicide are buried here in unhallowed ground.
                Hugh is faced with the decision of calling this a murder or a suicide.  Many in the village had bad experiences with Thomas atte Bridge and none were sorry to see him dead, except his wife.  So Hugh has no lack of suspects at first.  He discusses the case with his new wife of three months, Kate, as he is interested in her logic and observations.  It is determined that Thomas has been murdered, and Hugh begins to track down the killer through persistent questioning of the villagers in Bampton and Exeter, which is where Thomas’ overlord lives.
                Hugh learns that another old enemy, John Kellet, who was in league with Thomas in the commission of crimes in the past and who was also a priest, has been back in town meeting secretly with Thomas.  Could Kellet have killed Thomas?  If he did so, then why?  Another situation that Hugh must deal with is an unwed mother and what fine she must have levied against her.  Who is the father of her child?  Could this have anything to do with the murder?  This turns into another mystery as does Kate’s sudden lingering illness.  Hugh continues to treat patients during the course of his investigation as he is a conscientious surgeon.  Does Thomas’ half-sister’s inheritance play any role in his murder?  What is wrong with Kate?  Is there anything Hugh can do to treat her illness?
                If you like British mysteries, then you won’t want to miss this series.  I find the storylines to be interesting and entertaining.  The conclusions when they are revealed are cleverly resolved.  An excerpt from the fifth book in the series, The Tainted Coin, is also included.  This book will be reviewed soon and I can hardly wait to read what mystery Hugh will find himself involved in next!
                My rating is 4 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

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