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.
The sixth tale following Hugh de Singleton, Rest Not in Peace is sure to find its place among fans of detective and medieval historical fiction.
This is the sixth installment of the Hugh de Singleton chronicles, surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert and as in the other three that I’ve read I enjoyed this one as much, if not more. At first I must admit I was a bit put off since there is some talk of rumors of how King Edward II was killed upon his death – the which I have never heard but in fact are based on historical rumors, whether they are true or not still remains a mystery. As a history buff, this intrigued as much as it horrified me, so I looked up more information regarding this and while some refute it there are some who do believe the rumors to be correct – but I digress as that isn’t the intent of this book. Hugh is called upon to hurry to the castle of Lord Gilbert to look after the death of Sir Henry, a knight who was in financial trouble and not at all liked by his family or his villeins or commons.
In true Hugh fashion, he tires of Church rhetoric, I especially agreed with him on his views of purgatory on page 59, “If Sir Henry had not lived a life worthy of heaven I doubt that my prayers, or any man’s, would send him there. But I keep such heretical views to myself.” He also tires of the futility of trying to figure out the human condition of such evil that allows one man to kill another – but he knows that with a wife and child he needs the work so he keeps his views and thoughts to himself. While everyone around is rushing him to find the killer so that Lord Gilbert’s guests can leave, Hugh does not want to send an innocent man to the gallows so he perseveres and sees the case through to certainty.
I was glad again of all the detail that Mel Starr provides his readers – it adds so much to the story and makes one feel they are reading a book from the old English countryside instead of a book written now. Some may find the descriptions of the meals, the holidays and even the caste system boring but not I, I enjoyed this one immensely and I do recommend these books, even with as graphic as the rumor of King Edward was I eventually saw how it played into the whole story and since it seems to be historical fact and/or rumor I was able to look at it through the eyes of a history buff.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws