Mel Starr has now written a fourth installment of his chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon in the town of Brampton, England, in 1366. This story opens with the requisite murder of every murder mystery, but in this instance the killing is a done deal. No blood and gore. Not even a scream of terror in the night. Master Hugh is summoned to inspect what at first appears is a suicide. But he isn’t convinced this is so. After all, the deceased, Thomas atte Bridge is a scoundrel who had many enemies and was the least likely man to do away with himself. The problem is, if this wasn’t a suicide, there’s a very good chance the killer is one of Hugh’s dear friends in the village, and he’s not keen on hauling any of them to the gallows for dispensing the nasty atte Bridge.
It’s not hysteria and graphic forensic detail that are Starr’s tools. Instead, he composes an intelligent and cozy mystery that involves Hugh as a reluctant investigator. And it’s the charm of the scenes, blending with the well-researched historical details that make this novel so very appealing and therefore readable.