Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ashes to Ashes by Mel Starr

Master Hugh, Kate, and their children attend the Midsummer’s Eve fire. The next morning Hugh hears the passing bell ring from the Church of St. Beornwald, and moments later is summoned. Tenants collecting the ashes to spread upon their fields have found burned bones.

Master Hugh learns of several men of Bampton and nearby villages who have gone missing recently. Most are soon found, some alive, some dead. Master Hugh eventually learns that the bones are those of a bailiff from a nearby manor. Someone has slain him and placed his body in the fire to destroy evidence of murder.

Bailiffs are not popular men; they dictate labor service, collect rents, and enforce other obligations. Has this bailiff died at the hand of some angry tenant? Hugh soon discovers this is not the case. There is quite another reason for murder . . .

My review:
  This is the eighth book in this series, and I have read all eight and reviewed seven of them. They are Christian suspense/mystery, but not at all like what I normally read. These books are set in the 1300's in medieval times. The series has been a very enjoyable read, and I have always looked forward to a new book coming out in the series.

  This is the best book so far. There was a lot more suspense and mystery than the others in the series, though they had their share. Part of the mystery in this one was finding out who a body was before settling the mystery of who killed the person.

 The series is centered on Hugh de Singleton, a young doctor who does double duty as a surgeon. As with the other books, I was intrigued and amazed at the methods of detecting one would use in those days, and also the methods a doctor would use. Ashes to Ashes required more detecting than the other books, and was more of a page turner. A couple of kidnappings thrown in made the book all the more a great suspense novel.

  There were more people to keep track of in this story, but the author did a great job of making it easy to keep up with who was who. I also appreciated the glossary in the front to explain many words that are not used anymore.

 I thoroughly enjoyed this visit to the 1300's England, and the solving of the murder in the story. I highly recommend and look forward to the next book.

About the author:

   Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received 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 married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Kennesaw, GA, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.

Ashes to Ashes is available from Lion Publishing, an imprint of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.