Friday, March 4, 2011

A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr

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.

My review:
I like this series of books. They are totally different from the suspense/mystery novels I read. This series is set in the 1300's, which requires methods of detecting and investigating than what we have today.

The main character is Hugh de Singleton, who is both a surgeon and bailiff. As I commented on an earlier book in this series, I find the methods of surgery and doctoring in that day fascinating.

This book, Trail of Ink, starts off a bit slowly, but then picked up and grabbed my interest. The story involves stolen books, and I figured it wasn't going to be a story involving murder and mayhem, but I was wrong. Thought it may have been slower getting to the suspenseful moments than the two books that preceded this one, it has a lot of suspense in it also, and even some romance thrown in - although that is also a lot different than modern day romances.

The author has studied medieval surgery and medieval English, and that comes across in the book. Reading his books are like stepping into medieval times. He paints a great picture of what life was like in that day, and adds mystery and suspense to make it even more enjoyable.

I have one complaint about the book. There is a glossary in the front of the book to define some of the unfamiliar words in the book, but there are still several used that are not in the glossary. I would have liked a definition of those also.

I highly recommend this series. No, it isn't like reading a fast paced suspense novel set in modern times, but this book, and the other two in the series, make an enjoyable read and you won't be disappointed.

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.

A Trail of Ink is available from Monarch books, an imprint of Kregel Publications.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Link to the Litfuse blog tour for this book here.