Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review: A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel by Mel Starr

This is a murder mystery set in the small are of Bampton in old England. We follow our detective, Master Hugh de Singleton, as he tries to solve the case of a brutal murder. A man has been found with his throat slashed in the bushes near the road leading the St. Andrew's Chapel. While investigation the murder, he uncovers an unusaul trail of related crimes that lead to quite a stunning conclusion.

While I was able to guess several of the details before they were explained by Hugh. However, as the story is written by Hugh himself as a chronicle of his investigation, he often informs the reader that something turned up to be important, but he did not realize it at the time of the discovery. The case leads the reader on quite a merry chase through the little town, introducing us to many of the residents. Starr's writing brings these people and their town to life through the eyes of Hugh as he struggles to find the trail of the killer.

The writing was nice and liesurly, carrying you through the book at a steady pace as Hugh lays the groundwork for everything to come together. On the down side, I found very little to feel suspense about. Since it was written as a chronicle by Hugh after the fact, there were many insights and thoughts included. I got a little tired of hearing how badly he wanted to find a wife, the subject was dwelt on too many times and too often. I can hardly imagine that a man investigating such a grisly murder would have much time to complain to himself about his lack of a wife.

I have added earlier chronicles to my wish list, but they are not near the top. The story was engaging but needed to have that moment of suspence to make it a little more exiting for me.


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