It is the autumn of 1367. Master Hugh is enjoying the peaceful life of Bampton, when a badly beaten man is found under the porch of St. Andrew's Chapel. The dying man is a chapman -- a traveling merchant. Before he is buried in the chapel grounds an ancient, corroded coin is found in the man's mouth. Master Hugh's quest for the chapman's assailants, and his search for the origin of the coin, makes steady progress – but there are men of wealth and power who wish to halt his search, and an old nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe, is in league with them. But Master Hugh, and his assistant, the groom Arthur, are determined to uncover the thieves and murderers, and the source of the chapman's coin. They do, but not before they become involved with a kidnapped maiden, a tyrannical abbot, and a suffering monk – who needs Master Hugh's surgical skills and in return provides clues which assist Hugh in solving the mystery of the tainted coin.
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 240 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Publication Date: October 12th 2012 by Monarch Books
This was my first time reading a book by Melvin Starr so I was a little skeptical at first if the book would be all that I hoped it would be. I love historical fiction and mysteries so when I come across a book the marries the two together I set the bar very high. Luckily for me this one turned out to be exactly what I wanted.
The story focuses on Master Hugh de Singleton, who is a bailiff and surgeon in Bampton in the year 1367 and centers around a murder that takes place in his jurisdiction one autumn day when a man lays dead and he has to bring the culprits to justice. He just has to find out who they are and why they killed the victim
Melvin Starr created a likable hero in Master Hugh, one that I'm not likely to forget. I enjoyed his character immensely because he was neither too pretentious like some sleuths can be and he wasn't a pushover either. He had a great sense of right and wrong and I loved how much Hugh loved his wife Kate and their baby girl Bessie. He had a strong moral compass and I respected the fact that because of circumstances brought on by the murder case that he was willing to resign from his post as Bailiff in order to help a man who is unjustly punished and condemned to death.
I thought that the way that the story of The Tainted Coin was told in a wonderful way. The author did an outstanding job with the writing. I love the amount of detail that went into creating an authentic setting for the novel and I could tell the author has a great love for the time period because you can tell everything was constructed with the utmost care resulting in a fantastically realistic story in a time long ago past.
The drama, characters, plot, and the historical details and use of words and descriptions were wonderful once they were all pieced together and I'm very glad I gave this novel a chance. While this novel is the fifth novel in the Hugh de Singleton series I had no trouble following the story line and this can absolutely be read as a standalone.
The story kept me guessing and the author threw in enough twists and turns to keep me on my toes and keep me intrigued and I loved that while the novel had a fair amount of intrigue and action it still remained what I would consider a cozy mystery.
Overall, I was impressed with this novel and cannot wait to read the other books in the series! All of the preceding novels have been added to my wish list and I highly recommend this book to everyone! If you like historical mysteries this might just be the perfect read for you.
* I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not compensated in anyway to give a positive review and all thoughts and opinions herein are my own.
I read this book for the following challenges:
2013 Around the World Reading Callenge
2013 150+ Books Reading Challenge
2013 150+ Books Reading Challenge
2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge
Really Liked It!
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★ ★ ★ ★
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