Book Review: Rest Not in Peace

1 Jan

640080Master 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.

authorMel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School.

Mel married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Naperville, IL, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.

My Impressions:

I am a big fan of Mel Starr’s mystery series featuring medieval surgeon/bailiff, Hugh de Singleton. Armed with only rudimentary skills, Hugh manages to solve mysteries while pondering the bigger questions of life and God. In his sixth chronicle, Hugh details the murder of Sir Henry, a penniless knight who along with his family and retinue have been staying with Sir Gilbert, Hugh’s lord. Greed, jealousy, and revenge are among the motives of the suspects, a list which gets longer the more Hugh investigates. My favorite of all 6 books, Rest Not in Peace is the perfect book for those who love a good mystery amidst the setting of medieval life.

One of the strengths of this series, is Starr’s ability to present a credible murder investigation without the benefit of modern detection resources. Hugh is left to find clues in footprints, blood spatters and the body language of his suspects. A scholar, Hugh uses his experience and studies to ferret out the criminal. Although the setting is far removed from our sophisticated world, Starr manages to make the actions and thoughts of his medieval characters relevant for today’s reader. Rest Not in Peace is the perfect book for mystery and history fans alike.


(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.


2 Responses to “Book Review: Rest Not in Peace”

  1. Don and June Burge February 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Mel: Currently reading the sixth chronicale. Is the seventh in print? We would like to get it.
    Don and June Burge


    • rbclibrary February 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

      I am not sure what Mel is currently working on. Check his website for info.


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