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The Unquiet Bones (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,550 Ratings  ·  258 Reviews
Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, he feels no real calling—despite his lively faith—and he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris, and then hanging his sign in Oxford.

Soon after, a local lord asks Hugh de Singleton to track the killer of a young woman whose bones h
Paperback, 252 pages
Published 2008 by Monarch
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Richard Derus
Dec 18, 2011 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

This was an agreeable little mystery. I went with the author to fourteenth century Oxford and Bampton, visiting an England pretty well mapped in fiction by now. Still and all, Mr. Starr's characters made agreeable traveling companions, and his plot kept me interested.

A university trained surgeon goes to set up practice in a small English country village because he accidentally helps the Lord of said village when he suffers a minor injury in Oxford. A murder takes place, and Hug
Feb 02, 2011 Scargosun rated it liked it
I found it odd that this book was supposed to be in the 'religious fiction' section when I went looking for it. It was recommended to me because I am a fan of the Matthew Shardlake series by CJ Sansom. I thought it was just historical fiction. I bought it anyway even though I am not a fan of organized religion to say the least. The book has some strong religious overtones but it does not overshadow the the story as a whole which I think can be difficult but the author does it well.

The story fol
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
This is a wonderfully atmospheric and obviously well researched historical mystery taking place in 14th Century England.

It has an unusual protagonist in that he is a "modern" surgeon for the times. He has what we might consider very enlightened views for a doctor in the Middle Ages. But somehow he stumbles into the job of investigating a couple of murders even though he has no experience.

I really enjoyed the plot and the characters. The author's attention to historical detail is wonderful.
Dec 22, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Mel Starr's The Unquiet Bones landed in my inbox as most tour books do. I'd not heard of the author and the series was entirely unknown to me, but I like medieval fiction and felt the premise promising enough to take the plunge.

Now I'll be honest, it took me a while to get into this one. Starr's style isn't typical and I was several chapters in before I really got a handle on it, but it was smooth sailing from there on. Hugh
Alana White
Jun 09, 2014 Alana White rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Medieval Enthusiasts
An entertaining historical mystery set in fourteenth-century England, "The Unquiet Bones" by Mel Starr introduces Hugh de Singleton, the fourth and last son of a minor knight from the country of Lancashire, who, while attending Oxford, decides that rather than law, he will move to Paris and study surgery. And so it is as a surgeon he is called to tend to his patient, Lord Gilbert, lord of Bampton Castle. Impressed by Hugh's skills, Gilbert asks him to look in on two villeins who need care, and t ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Meikoyim rated it really liked it
I found myself easily picking up series after series the last couple months, I wonder whether 'tis to do with the deprivation of reading for the months prior. Maybe they are down to my own neglect for other activities but nevertheless I have stopped a good while before I picked up the books again.

And series are just so handy on the Kindle, only one click away... sigh...

But I think my Anglophile (better yet, Brittophile, which isn't a word but should be) tendency is increasing these days, having
I'd been looking forward to reading this for a while. It was hard to find a copy locally; I finally got my hands on an ILL through my library.

I was a bit disappointed in the story as a whole, the mystery wasn't very complicated and there wasn't much in the way of character development. The protagonist seems to stumble on to the truth a bit too easily for my tastes and the overall feel to the book is light and fluffy. I am certain I will remember very little of this a year from now.

I like a lot o
Burçak Kılıç
Oct 01, 2011 Burçak Kılıç rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okuduğum ilk orta çağda geçen polisiyeydi. Cerrahlık yapan kahramanız Hugh, Lord'un emriyle kalenin tuvalet çukurunda bulunan kemiklerin sahibini ve suçluyu bulmakla görevlendirilir. Araştırmalar yaparken başka cinayete kurban gitmiş iki adam bulur ve bu 3 cinayetin birbiriyle bağlantılı olduğunu düşünerek araştırmalarına başlar.

Günlük gibi bi kitap olduğu için doktor işini yaparken bayağı tıp yöntemi anlatıyor ilgimi çekti eski yöntemler değişikmiş :) Kitap sıkmıyor akıcıydı. Ve belirtmek istiy
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - in fact, I could hardly put it down. It is an easy and enjoyable read (I often feel that people, these days, forget that reading should, on the whole, be a pleasure and not some highly pseudo-intellectual and mis-imagined "spiritual" experience). The hero, Hugh de Singleton, is a likeable lad; a young surgeon newly embarked on his career, full of the uncertainties and humility that a good and skilled man will have (more aware of what he doesn't know than struttin ...more
Karen Brooks
Feb 24, 2013 Karen Brooks rated it really liked it
What a wonderful surprise this tightly written, historically very accurate and beautifully paced book turned out to be. This novel, set in the 1300s, follows the career of Hugh of Singleton, the youngest son of a knight who, while at university, discovers his calling is surgery. Setting up practice in Oxford, he is soon lured to the small town of Bamford and into the service of local lord, who asks him to track down the killer of a young woman whose body is found in the castle privy.
Unwilling a
May 16, 2013 Theresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
What do you read after Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers?

Melvin Starr, of course!

I found this book by accident. Actually, the librarian recommended it to me... after mistakenly answering my query (for another book) with this author.

"The Unquiet Bones" kept my interest, and was a fast read. Even though I had to use the glossary several times to discover what this or that term meant during my reading, I found that, rather than being annoying (having to interrupt my reading so often to look these
Aug 07, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction and mysteries. This book about Hugh de Singleton, surgeon, who also is busy trying to solve a murder for Lord Gilbert. The story opens with Master Hugh learning his trade and eventually moving to Bampton. Here bones are found and he begins to search not only for the killer, but the identity of the body. The story has many interesting twists and turns. A good story that I couldn't figure out the ending. I will be reading the second book.
I would probably have liked this better if the author had not re-created a medieval world and then added in his (the author's) diatribe against asking for intercession of the saints. It stood out wildly from the fabric of the story and added nothing to the character or the plot. It looked suspiciously like a sop thrown to Protestant readers.
John Lee
Sep 27, 2015 John Lee rated it really liked it
I had followed up on a recommendation for this one although it has been sat for sometime on my 'to read' shelf.
One of the comments that I read about it referred to the humour and the story did seem in a slightly lighter vein than some other historic fiction that I have read. It was much in the style of Deryn Lake and her series about John Rawlings, the apothecary although that was set some 400 years later.
The story flowed well enough although I did lose track of a couple of the characters as the
Ren Bedell
Apr 03, 2016 Ren Bedell rated it liked it
Shelves: book
Mystery novel about a surgeon playing detective in the Middle ages. The author does a great job of writing that gives a very 14th century feel. The story is good with many different twists that make finding the culprit difficult. Not actually being a detective, the author also does a good job at making him believable in the way he tries to solve the case. The conversations are very one-sided that make them it feel like you are watching somebody on the witness stand. The protagonist tries to act ...more
Mar 27, 2010 Spuddie rated it it was amazing
First in a historical series set in and around Bampton, UK in the 1360's. The country is still feeling the effects of the devastation left by the Black Death that coursed its way through two decades previously. Surgeon Hugh de Singleton is trying to make ends meet in Oxford but finding the going difficult when he is offered a position in Bampton by the Lord of the castle there. Not long after his arrival, a set of bones are found when the serfs are cleaning out the privy pit, first believed to b ...more
Dec 09, 2014 Raymond rated it it was amazing
The Unquiet Bones is an excellent, quick read. If you are fond of historical fiction that tells a good story, without the author getting bogged down in unnecessary description that doesn't move with the narrative, then this is a book for you. Details and description of 14th century English life will seep into your brain as the plot flows, without the feeling that you are back in a classroom lecture. The glossary at the front of the book assists with the occasional archaic phrase that comes up in ...more
Nov 12, 2011 Tiff rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, e-book
I'm close to giving this book one star. It was a good effort, the premise was good and although the story began with a lot of "telling" rather than showing, it did get better. I didn't realize when I purchased the ebook that it had so much religious connotation, I found it distracting but bearable. The story could have been fleshed out much more fully, another hundred pages or so and the content needed a lot of editing.

What really took away from the book were the constant typos and errors. A go
Mitch McCrimmon
Feb 22, 2014 Mitch McCrimmon rated it it was ok
This sounded like a good read and I wanted to like it but couldn't get past about 10% or less. The long intro on how the main character got started in his profession was boring to me. Would have preferred action earlier, but the killer blow was when the protagonist entering a small town asks: "Do all small English towns have a High Street?" Well, that's a question an American tourist would ask, not a 14th century Englishman. Then in the next paragraph he notes that his arrival is creating a lot ...more
Vera Godley
Apr 25, 2016 Vera Godley rated it it was amazing
To my sorrow I began reading Melvin R. Starr's books featuring the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon, about mid-series. After reading several in a row, I now have the opportunity to begin at the beginning and that is with The Unquiet Bones.

If you're not familiar with Starr's wonderful qualifications to write about this period of medieval life, check him out. (click here) And if you've not read any of his "Hugh de Singleton" adventures you have missed a treat. Set in a real historical site
Karen Gail Brown
Mar 11, 2016 Karen Gail Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fortunately there is a glossary at the beginning of "The Unquiet Bones", else it would be impossible to know what is going on.

Hugh de Singleton decides to leave Oxford and take up surgery. His friend, William, willed his books to Hugh as Will was dying of plague. One of the books was instruction in surgery and after conferring with an adviser at Oxford, Hugh takes up the profession.

His first patient is Lord Gilbert Talbot of Bampton Castle . Hugh treats Lord Gilbert when he falls from a horse ou
Dec 17, 2014 Kimbers10 rated it it was amazing
The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr is a fantastic historical fiction, crime solver read. It had my attention from beginning until end. I loved the characters. They were relatable, and completely realistic. Hugh de Singleton was a great main character, very likable and personable. As a reader you wanted him to succeed and find the murderer of the body that was found in the cesspit at Bampton Castle. The author created a really great story line that keeps the reader on their toes guessing what is goin ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Kat rated it liked it

As a student in the history of medicine and palaeopathology, I'm not really the target audience for this book. The things Starr wanted to go into detail about I already knew, whereas other bits that I thought he should explain were glanced over (the difference between a doctor and a surgeon for example). I think it's very obvious that this is an academic who has learnt to write as opposed to a writer who has researched medieval England. I think because of that, Hugh spends a lot of the plot
Mar 12, 2014 Annet rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. After Child of God by Cormac McCarthy (brilliant, but rather confronting) I selected this one next, purposely. A Medieval story, easy to read, quite good in drawing the atmosphere and environment of those historic times, the crime story in it is pretty predictable, but still. I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars, rounded off to 4 because this was just the right book at the right time for me. And I love history books (from when I was young :-)) Will look for the 2nd one in this series soo ...more
Apr 14, 2016 dOnnabud rated it it was amazing
an exceptionally twisted plot cleverly resolved amidst a medieval backdrop * the glossary of medieval terms is very useful, insights into 1360s english life extremely enlightening * the settings vary from squalid to splendid * the main character, hugh de singleton, is brilliant and progressive, competent and modest with a delightful sense of humor * one of my favorite passages: "My nose is a trifle large for the adjacent geography, but I have always thought that lends character to a face. In a m ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book on the Middle ages. Starr did his research for this one, and it showed in the book. I'm sure murder and mayhem happened quite a bit during medieval times. Death was more taken for granted, and less than a shock than it often is now. Between plagues, accidents, lack of food or health was usually short and hard. It's amazing that lives were still lived, children were born, people were most definitely closer to the God, and even art was accomplished. I think if mos ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Marilu rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. .I'm happy to read the rest in the series. ...Other comments about the religious overtones do not take into account the characters study in religion before deciding to be a surgeon and the way the two are intertwined which seem wholly healthy to me as he is obviously a thinking man trying to make sense of the world he lives in. .I doubt this character would find fulfillment any other way- I love his use of the herbals in conjunction with the surgery and wish this conjunction of w ...more
Angie Taylor
Apr 09, 2015 Angie Taylor rated it really liked it
This is a very easy to read little book and quite engaging if you can once get past the somewhat over-worked pseudo-mediaeval language and the incongruous American spellings. The religious overtones are a bit on the heavy side for my personal taste but they don't particularly get in the way of the story. The main character, Hugh, is a likeable enough figure though he does tend to overdo the humility a bit and I do like the first person narrative style adopted here, largely because Hugh's constan ...more
A very interesting mystery set in 14th century England. This isn't one for those entertained by gore or the thrill a minute style of some writers. It is slower paced and takes you into the life of that time. The writer has included a glossary of terms common to that time and I found myself referring to it quite often. This is a nice treat for those who like both the historical novel and the thoughtful mystery.
Laura Brill
Sep 06, 2015 Laura Brill rated it it was amazing
It's about 1360, and England is recovering from a double bout of the plague. Hugh de Singleton is a struggling young surgeon fresh out of medical school and happens to witness Lord Gilbert get kicked in the leg by a horse. He runs to his aid, and impresses the Lord Gilbert so much, that he ends up living in his village of Bampton, practicing medicine when he's not also serving as a bailiff. When a servant finds some bones in a cesspit in Lord Gilbert's castle, Hugh is called upon to help identif ...more
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huzursuz kemikler 1 12 Nov 12, 2012 03:43AM  
  • A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #2)
  • Veil of Lies (Crispin Guest, #1)
  • Fortune Like the Moon (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #1)
  • Remedy For Treason (Chronicles Of Issac Of Girona, #1)
  • Death Comes As Epiphany (Catherine LeVendeur, #1)
  • Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery, #1)
  • A Plague on Both Your Houses (Matthew Bartholomew, #1)
  • The Sanctuary Seeker (Crowner John Mystery #1)
  • The Nightingale Gallery (Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan, #1)
  • My Lady Judge (Burren Mysteries, #1)
  • Firedrake's Eye (David Becket and Simon Ames, #1)
  • Hangman Blind (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery, #1)
  • The Apothecary Rose (Owen Archer, #1)
  • A Mortal Bane (Magdalene La Batarde, #1)
  • Martyr (John Shakespeare, #1)
  • The Rhetoric of Death
  • A Shrine of Murders (Kathryn Swinbrooke, #1)
  • The Cavalier of the Apocalypse (Aristide Ravel, #1)

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon (8 books)
  • A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #2)
  • A Trail of Ink (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #3)
  • Unhallowed Ground (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #4)
  • The Tainted Coin (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #5)
  • Rest Not in Peace (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #6)
  • The Abbot's Agreement (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #7)
  • Ashes to Ashes (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #8)

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