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A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr
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After reading Lucifer's Harvest (book 9 in the series) I knew I had to go back and read the earlier volumes. I greatly enjoyed this one, and look forward to reading more from the series once I can get my hands on them. ( )
  LilyRoseShadowlyn | Dec 26, 2016 |
A Trail of Ink has a little bit of everything that makes this series enjoyable, mystery, a colourful and detailed historical backdrop, and some interesting descriptions of Medieval surgery, medicine and other aspects of life. In this novel, there is even a hint of Romance, with Hugh courting Kate Paxton, the stationers’ daughter he met in the last novel. Unwittingly, he also gains himself and enemy, an initially a love rival in the form of Sir Simon Trillowe son of the Sheriff of Oxford who causes problems in the later books
This third installment focuses on the relationship between Kate and Hugh, and of course he has a mystery to solve as Doctor John Wycliffe has had all his books stolen. An event which causes Hugh’s friend and mentor some distress- he was a scholar who relied on his books after all. Hugh employer Lord Gilbert Talbot's encouragement to find a wife gives Hugh the perfect excuse to stay in Oxford, and help Master Wycliffe. Of course, Hugh soon falls into trouble as Sir Simon Trillowe is literally willing to go to any lengths to get him out of the way- and it is all the harder to deal with him as his father holds the authority of Sheriff.

Yet the frequency and nature of nefarious plots do harm to or do away with our hero seem to be getting a little implausible. How many times can someone break into his room or his house at night, ambush him in the street, kidnap him, or attack him, and he just narrowly escape? It does seem to be getting to be a little bit of a worn out formula now and perhaps a tad predictable.

I also had a few issues with Hugh himself in the story. For instance, when he is thrown into jail on false charges and facing execution (begging the question of whether a member of the gentry classes actually could be treated thus), he prays in desperation as he can think of no way out, but, when the situation is resolved, he is not depicted as grateful or thankful to God for apparently answering his prayers.
Instead he whines. Also, his lying does get a bit much after a while, especially when there would be other ways to deal with the situation, and his automatic assumption that he is not as bad as others, or that God won’t mind. The ending also seemed a little but rushed, resolved very quickly seemingly without much explanation of the motives of those involved.

Altogether A Trail of Ink is an enjoyable mystery story and light read that does not rely on gory murders (in fact this event does not happen until over halfway through the book), in a fascinating and well-researched setting. The said, the elements of the story which can be repetitive, formulaic and predictable were a shortcoming, which could perhaps prove problematic if the series continues. ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
Hugh de Singleton is a 14th Century English surgeon who is also the bailiff, or general manager, for the estate of an important nobleman, Lord Gilbert, in the southeastern part of England. A perceptive and principled man for the times, de Singleton has emerged into kind of early police detective, who is kept busy by a continuous stream of crimes--major and minor--ranging from curfew violation to game poaching to murder.

A Trail of Ink is the 3rd book in the series. The medieval background enhances the reading experience while putting the clock back to a time before mysteries were solved by forensics. You can read this as a stand-alone mystery however I warn you, you will become attached to the character and times of Hugh de Singleton and will be back for more. I recommend this series for those who like a cozy mystery, a police procedural or just any murder mystery. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Jun 2, 2016 |
The 3rd Hugh de Singleton mystery. The last book was a disappointment to me so I was a little worried about this one...but I really liked it! Hugh returns to Oxford to help his former teacher (John Wycliff) find the books which have been stolen from him. Sounds like it wouldn't be dangerous but nothing the surgeon/bailiff does is easy. Along the way he finds time to court a lovely lady. 4 1/2 stars ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
This is the 3rd book in the Hugh de Singleton mystery series and by here the author has the feel of the main characters. Hugh once again gets himself in trouble, merely trying to help out a friend. His friend had his entire library stolen, and for anyone in 1465 that would be devastating, the man in question is a professor, and not only was it a life's collection, it was part of his job. Hugh also proceeds to court Kate in the hopes of making her his wife. Both issues cause Hugh a lot more trouble than one would reason possible, both almost get him killed.

I really enjoy this series and only have 2 more to add to my collection. I highly recommend them! ( )
  readafew | Dec 30, 2015 |
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Hugh de Singleton, surgeon in the medieval village of Bampton, is called in when a valuable stolen book is turns up alongside the drowned body of a poor Oxford scholar. The investigation leads him to Kate, the only woman who has tempted him to leave bachelor life behind.… (more)

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