Monday, December 30, 2013

Kregel Blog Tour: Rest Not in Peace by Mel Starr

Another slice of medieval skullduggery from the surgeon-turned-sleuth
Master Hugh, surgeon and bailiff, is asked to provide a sleeping potion for Sir Henry Burley, a friend and guest of Lord Gilbert at Bampton Castle. Sir Henry—with his current wife, a daughter by a first wife, two knights, two squires, and assorted servants—has outstayed his welcome at Bampton.
The next morning, Sir Henry is found dead, eyes open, in his bed. Master Hugh, despite shrill accusations from the grieving widow, is asked by Lord Gilbert to determine the cause of death . . . which had nothing to do with the potion.

In a world of modern technology, crime shows and modern detective novels, Rest Not in Peace is an interesting glimpse at sleuthing in days gone by.  Anyone with a medical interest will be fascinated by Hugh's surgical descriptions as well as the medicines available to him at that time.

I love Hugh's candor and wit.  The reader is treated to his thoughts and observations as he methodically goes about his medical (and bailiff) duties.  Being a suspect in Sir Henry's death makes carrying out his investigation just a bit tricky.

Sir Henry and his widow were leeches on the leg of Lord Gilbert's hospitality.  Servants and staff had long become weary of jumping to carry out every instruction from the demanding guests. And unfortunately, after Sir Henry's death, the visiting party must remain while the investigation ensues. Sir Henry's widow seems not too terribly grieved at the loss of her husband but she quickly and vocally places the blame on Hugh, suggesting that the sleeping potion was the instrument of death.

From all outward appearances any other explanation of Sir Henry's death is a mystery. Hugh knows, however, that the amount of powder he had prepared for Sir Henry could not have ended his life but no other means of death is readily obvious. Until Hugh uncovers a very odd method of having killed the man. Then ensues the dogged search for a very clever killer.

As Hugh starts digging around for answers, he finds out a few secrets the widow has been keeping. Sir Henry's daughter also has a few secrets of her own.  Hugh works tirelessly to seek out the killer to bring about justice and clear his own name.

Mel Starr has created an intelligent and witty protagonist. I'm hoping he will continue writing about more of Hugh's medical and crime-solving adventures.

If you'd like to learn more about author Mel Starr and the previous five books about Hugh de Singleton, visit the author's blog. At his site you'll find links to try out chapters from his previous books.  I ended up jumping into the series with book five and had no problem understanding and enjoying the book (although I admit that I am hoping to go back and experience the earlier ones as well).

Read an excerpt which includes a glossary of terms to orient you to some medieval terms as well as a map of the area in the story.  Rest Not in Peace can be purchased directly from Kregel Publications or from one of the following retailers:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Rest Not in Peace for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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