Review of Lucifer's Harvest by Mel Starr

Leah Courtney
A few months ago I reviewed a unique book by Mel Starr- a medieval murder mystery Ashes to Ashes. I thought that a historical fiction mystery, set in the Middle Ages was a very interesting concept, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I recently had an opportunity to review another book by the author- Lucifer's Harvest.

This book, like the other, features Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff in the employ of a medieval Lord. Hugh once again finds himself in a position to use his medical knowledge and investigative skills to solve a murder. This is the tenth book about Hugh de Singleton, and, although you can read the books as stand alone mysteries, there are references to characters and events in previous books.

Review of Lucifer's Harvest by Mel Starr
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From the book's description...

Lord Gilbert Talbot must provide soldiers for Prince Edward's battle in France. He wishes his surgeon--Hugh de Singleton--to travel with the war party to tend any injuries. Among those on the road is Sir Simon Trillowe, Hugh's old nemesis, who had once torched Hugh's house.

Finding himself in the same war party, Hugh resolves to watch his back in the presence of the knight, who is still holding a grudge. But it is Sir Simon who should not have turned his back….

When Trillowe's body is found, many suspect Hugh has wreaked revenge on his adversary. To clear his name, Hugh must once again riddle a reason for murder.

I find these books so interesting, not just because of the mysteries that I enjoy trying to solve along with Hugh, but also because of the historical information about the time period- especially about medical conditions and treatments of the time period. The author is very knowledgeable and includes more historical information about the events and places from the stories at the end of the book.

Hugh and the other characters in the story are compelling and well-developed. There isn't lots of introspection, but I still feel as if I got to know the characters well. The story is fast-paced. It moves quickly, and the chapters are rather short. This constantly spurred me to read "just one more chapter" to try to figure out who was the guilty party.

Another thing that I particularly like about this book and the other I reviewed is Hugh's spiritual considerations. In the time period, most common people had never read God's Word for themselves. Hugh, however, had met John Wycliffe during his time as an Oxford student, and he has a copy of God's Word. Frequently he is thoughtful about the situations he encounters in light of what he knows about God's Word and his own personal relationship with God. It isn't at all preachy, but it's interesting to have this perspective of a man's desire to know God's Word at a time when this was definitely not the norm.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lucifer's Harvest and look forward to finding and reading more of the Hugh de Singleton mysteries. You can find the book on Amazon here and on Kregel here. You can also read a sample of the Kindle version below.

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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