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Customer Reviews for Monarch Books The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5

Monarch Books The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5

Witty slices of medieval skullduggery are laced with history, humor, intrigue, and romance! Before a man beaten to death is buried, an ancient coin is found in his mouth. Determined to uncover his murderers and the source of The Tainted Coin, Master Hugh runs into his nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe, who wants to end his search---permanently.
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4.6
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Customer Reviews for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Review 1 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Intriguing Medieval Mystery!

Date:January 25, 2013
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Veronica
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
If you're looking for a mystery or like the medieval time period, look no further! It's 1367 and Master Hugh is both a surgeon and the bailiff for a lord, so when a man dies on the lord's land he determines it is murder and starts to investigate. When an ancient coin falls out of the man's mouth, Master Hugh suspects it is the key to his death. As he searches for clues, he encounters powerful men who wish to stop him. Add kidnapping and surgery; this book is never dull!
It was interesting to see how a murder could be solved in a time period without our modern gadgets or even DNA. I especially liked learning about the different culture, including what they ate and how they lived. There's a handy glossary in the front of the book to explain some of the terms. There's a bit of dry humor at times that I enjoyed. A fascinating thing I learned was that surgeons were taught not to perform surgeries during certain times of the year because of the movement of planets and stars. They felt a surgery wouldn't be successful and even some of the church believed this! This is book five in the series about Master Hugh, but I wasn't confused at all when reading this first. It's worth checking out!
I received this book free from Kregel in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 2 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

RIVETING, SUSPENSEFUL, EDUCATIONAL!

Date:January 22, 2013
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Moonpie
Location:PRYOR
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
How could I have missed this author and why didn’t I find him sooner!!!! Oh how I enjoyed this book! Talk about being transported back into time! It is so unusual to find historical fiction books written about the 1300’s. The setting is Medieval England, 1367. Hugh de Singleton is a surgeon and a bailiff for Lord Talbot. You might say he was a Dr. Quincy, doctor/detective of the time, but his sleuthing depended upon keen observation, intelligence, and quick thinking. There was no internet, forensic medicine, or criminal records to aid him.
The story opens with him being called to the chapel to care for a man the priest had found badly beaten. Before he dies, he utters the words, “They didn’t get me coin”. In preparing the victim for burial, Hugh finds an ancient Roman coin in his mouth. It is now his duty to find the murderers and bring them to justice. His search is not a simple one and leads him into many perilous situations, endangering his family, and one almost costing him his life. The further he investigates the more tangled the mystery becomes and the more problem’s Hugh becomes personally involved in and feels responsible to resolve.
The character’s dialogs are written in the same manner that people would have spoken during that time. For me this added to the realism of the period and drew me into the story as a participant.
In addition to being extremely entertaining, the book was a veritable treasure of history lessons in many aspects. I learned so many new facts! Day to day living, especially with the peasants, was severe and uncompromising. Even the poorest of poor today live better than these did. While nobles and upper-class citizens such as Hugh fared better than the average citizen, their lives were grossly lacking in comparison to ours today. Social classes had clearly drawn lines between them and they were strictly observed.
Hugh’s interaction with the people he meets sheds great light also on what foods were eaten, how it was prepared, superstitions, homes, traditional festivals, and religious ceremonies of that age.
I love anything to do with the medical field and was awestruck by the detailed information about the practice of medicine. The use of herbs was extremely interesting. Who knew crushed lettuce seeds could help pain? A stark reminder of how little they had to work with. Surgery without anesthesia seemed a bit barbaric, but pain was accepted as there was no other remedy. I must admit that I cringed with the patients as I read some of the treatments. Though no extensive medical training as we know today was available, I saw the surgeons definitely had impressive skills. What really stood out was that recovery depended upon food, rest, and allowing the body repair itself. You had to be tough to live during those times!
The author’s detailed research in all these areas not only dispelled my vague ideas of medieval life but also stripped me of many of the modern conveniences and perks I take for granted today.
How Mr. Starr combined, history, mystery, suspense, and humor into one novel is nothing short of amazing, but he did so, and with great skill! This was a book I didn’t want to end. I was thrilled to find out there are 4 previous books in the series and another on the way. I look forward to reading ALL of them and any others Mr. Starr might write.
I received this book free Kregel Publ. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Review 3 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very Engaging.

Date:January 22, 2013
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A Cluttered Mind
Location:Rochester, MN
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This has to be one of my newest favorite authors and series. I reviewed Hallowed Ground a while back and was delighted when asked to review The Tainted Coin. Starr has me as a loyal reader. I still need to get a hold of the first three books in this series (Mr. Starr…are you listening?), but each book stands alone enough you don't need to go in order or have read previous books to follow each one.
Hugh de Singleton is a bailiff and surgeon in Britain during the mid-1300s. There seem to be no end to the demands upon his life and time whether it be for his surgical skills (often described in wonderful detail) or for his duty as a bailiff, investigating crimes which take place upon his lord's manor land. Somewhat like a medieval Sherlock Holmes, Master Hugh keeps asking questions, searching for clues, investigating scenes and using the good mind the Lord gave him to try to bring some closure to an incident.
I will let you know that not each book comes to the kind of closure you might wish for…for example, in this most recent book, The Tainted Coin, the villains are not apprehended, even though clearly identified. I have not doubt, they'll make an appearance in a future novel!
Starr does a masterful job of character development and description in order to bring the reader into the 1360s and 1370s. From the landscape to the housing, from the people to their positions in medieval society, you'll find a world of great delight awaiting you in Starr's books.
I highly recommend The Tainted Coin.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Review 4 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Hugh de Singleton gains new depth!

Date:January 21, 2013
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Kimfurd
Location:Alabama
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
“Men to often reject the requirements God places upon them, and rather place burdens upon other men which God does not.” (p.211)
Hugh de Singleton finds himself in a very multi-layered mystery that draws characters from all walks of life and cleverly displays the many levels of 14th century society and the effect each role had upon England’s citizens. Hugh himself winds up caught up between the layers of society and forced to make decisions that are on the razor’s edge of breaking the law. He must sort through the burdens that are God-given and man-made and decide how best to help those who come to him for aide.
Hugh de Singleton’s character never fails to endear himself to me and those who he so humbly serves as surgeon and bailiff. In this fifth chronicle of Mel Starr’s mysteries, Singleton’s pursuit of murderers and thieves puts his wife and child in harm’s way! This role of family-man adds yet another level of emotional depth to an already brilliant character!
In addition to an unsolved murder, a mysterious coin and a rather unexpected treasure hunt, Hugh himself winds up on the receiving end of a weapon! The reader must stay glued to the page with even more intensity to discern the well-being not only of Hugh but a growing number of walking wounded!
I must say there seems to be an ever growing number of folks in this story who require the skills of a surgeon/bailiff! Yet among all of the action, the author still paces the story so that the reader is able to fully enjoy life in a small English village in the 14th century! The sights, smells, tastes and sounds of this time period envelop the reader. Transported back to a time where rudimentary sleuthing skills accomplish much, the reader realizes anew that some questions in life (and crime) remain unanswered.
I’m a HUGE fan of this 14th century surgeon! Hugh de Singleton could match skills with any of the 21st century CSI agents! I can’t wait to see what he is called to do next!
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Review 5 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

mystery set in the fourteenth century

Date:January 21, 2013
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bookwomanjoan
Location:Oak Harbor, WA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This is the fifth in the Hugh de Singleton chronicles, adventures set in the fourteenth century. Hugh is a surgeon. He, is wife and child reside in Bampton, Hugh being the bailiff for Lord Gilbert.
In this novel, a badly beaten man is found under the porch of St. Andrews Chapel. The dying man is a traveling merchant. Upon his burial, an ancient coin falls from its hiding place in his mouth.
Since the murder happened on Lord Gilbert's land, Hugh pursues the assailants, identified by a horse with a broken shoe. The quest takes him to a nearby village and the release of a kidnapped girl. Before long, Hugh's life is in danger as he comes against wealthy and powerful men.
Starr's novels are so interesting because he has done much research on the culture and customs of the fourteenth century. Following Hugh, I was amazed at his medical knowledge. I was fascinated by the herbs used and the surgeries performed.
For those liking lots of action, this novel may seem a bit slow. The impact of the novel is not the action but the historical context. If you would like to know what life was like in the fourteenth century among the Lords and their subjects, this would be a good book to read.
You do not have to read the preceding four novels to appreciate this one. Doing so, however, will help you understand how Hugh got to be where he is, especially in his personal life.
For those of us challenged in our knowledge of medieval English, Starr has provided a glossary at the beginning of the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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Review 6 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Historical medical "detective" novel of 1300s

Date:January 21, 2013
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Vera
Location:North Carolina
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The historical setting of The Tainted Coin is medieval England in the year 1367. This is a new period read for me and I found it very interesting. So often historical reads are romances and filled with the give and take of the male and female protagonists. However, in The Tainted Coin I discovered Master Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon and found him a character of many fine points that the author develops quite well.
The story is written first-person with the voice of Singleton. He is the bailiff for the Lord's estate as well as a surgeon. Author Mel Starr is a historian by education and trade and has thoroughly research this period novel. Included in the front of the book are words and terms to help understand the terminology of the period. But you don't feel as though you are reading a history book. Frankly, you are riding from town to town, from village to village with Singleton and his trusty companion, Arthur, as they ride their horses who have definitely seen better days. It seems that they are constantly looking for lodging and food. Their food is most often maslin (bread made from mixed grains) and ale. They find villains and down-trodden folks. Sick and injured. You sense the justice as it is doled out during that period and which is based on laws hard to comprehend. You grasp the social order and the privilege of rank that exists.
Singleton is trying to solve a murder that occured on his Lord's estate and in the process encounters various individuals with problems, and he being a compassionate person seeks to aid them with whatever skills or possessions he has at his disposal.
I wish I had had the opportunity to read Mel Starr's other four books in this series, and perhaps I shall someday. You do not, however, need to read them to enjoy The Tained Coin as it is a good stand alone book. I found Starr's style different and refreshing. It was interesting to read this period book and I felt that I could trust Starr's interpretation of the customs of the time.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of The Tainted Coin from Kregel Publications on behalf of Monarch Books and the author for the purpose of my honest review. I was under no obligation to provide favorable comments. Opinions expressed are solely my own.
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Review 7 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Ancient Coin In Dead Man's Mouth = Great Myster

Date:January 21, 2013
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Mel Starr in his new book, “The Tainted Coin” Book Five in the Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series published by Monarch Books returns us to Oxford in 1367 for another mystery involving the intrepid bailiff and surgeon.
From the back cover: 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 is in league with them.
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.
I have become a huge fan of Mel Starr and am fantastically pleased with his creation: Hugh de Singleton. These mysteries that he gets involved with are complicated and thoroughly enjoyable. While Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon is not the great brain that Sherlock Holmes is he is up there and Mel Starr gives him quite a workout in this book.
I think Mel Starr is an extremely talented writer who really knows how to tell a story that will grab you and keep you flipping pages until you find out who did it. This time up they are searching for the assailant of a traveling salesman or Chapman. The mystery deepens when an ancient coin is found in the dead man’s mouth. To make matters worse very powerful individuals do not want the assailant found. Not only is de Singleton an investigator he is also a surgeon and we see him in rare form as he has to treat certain individuals using 1300 medical practices. “The Tainted Coin” is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed in the characters as well as life in England in the 1300′s. This is a wonderful series and I am glad I discovered Mel Starr and his wonderful hero. I am already looking forward to the next book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Monarch Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 8 for The Tainted Coin, Hugh de Singleton Surgeon Series #5
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Engaging and authentic historical mystery

Date:January 20, 2013
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Jill Stanish
Location:Midwest
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Tainted Coin was my first introduction to Hugh de Singleton and my first impression was outstanding. The book gives the reader a glimpse of not only medieval village life but also medical practices of the time period. Starr's years of teaching history and studying medieval surgery and English provided realistic detail and historical authenticity. While some of the vocabulary may be unfamiliar, Starr thoughtfully included a glossary for the reader's convenience.
The book begins with a hasty summons of Hugh to attend to a corpse. Having been beaten badly and dying with the cryptic words, "He didn't get me coin," Hugh's additional role as bailiff to Lord Gilbert sets him on the course to find the murderer. The author provided a very helpful map of the villages in the area so you can follow Hugh's travels.
The victim's life slowly unfolds as Hugh begins to investigate. Readers are introduced to a cast of memorable characters--many unsavory. Told from Hugh's perspective, the reader is taken along on a winding and often perilous journey to the book's satisfying conclusion. Hugh is an entirely likeable and witty protagonist. Not without weaknesses but persistent in pursuing justice.
Although the book is the fifth about Hugh, I thoroughly enjoyed the tale on its own merits and look forward to reading Starr's previous books about the surgeon's adventures (references were made to them but not enough details given to spoil the reader's experience). I certainly hope that Starr will continue writing future installments about Hugh de Singleton.
I found the book to be a delight in every way and highly recommend it to others. If you'd like to have a taste of the tale, then download an excerpt from the book. You'll want to know how it ends!
It's worth noting that the book is printed on very nice, sturdy paper with a thicker than normal paperback cover. What was particularly notable was the cover is scored to protect the binding as well. The thicker cover also prevents the annoying curling that often happens to softcovers. The superior quality is important as this will be a book you'll want to read more than once!
Disclaimer: I received The Tainted Coin free for the purpose of review.
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