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The Unquiet Bones

By: Mel Starr
Narrated by: Steven Crossley
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

First in the medieval whodunnit series set in Bampton, Oxfordshire, during the plague years and featuring a newly qualified surgeon

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, feeling no certain calling despite a lively faith, he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris and then hanging out his sign in Oxford. 

A local lord asks him to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cesspit. She is identified as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith, and her young man, whom she had provoked very publicly, is in due course arrested and sentenced at the Oxford assizes. 

From there the tale unfolds, with graphic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, misdirection, ambition, romantic distractions, and a consistent underlying Christian compassion.

©2008 Mel Starr (P)2019 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Unquiet Bones

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Gem.

At last a medieval mystery that's exceedingly well researched, and sufficiently descriptive without rambling on over background minutia. Easily followed and very well plotted. Credible! Plotpoints very clearly and logically illustrated.

The narrator was excellent. The first person dialogue and voice changes were convincing. I really enjoyed looking up the obsolete words used at this time. The medical side is fascinating and equally, the role of bailiff. My view, superior to Sister Fidelma and Cadfael.

The lack of surplus adornment and convoluted spider web plotlines was greatly appreciated. I am turned off by books that unceasingly launch into prose at every opportunity as filling or padding. A great yarn well told, is what I want, and one that is inherently believable and interesting.

The author, in a very simplisic and circumspect way, suceeds in bringing vividly to life the time and place whilst involving the reader intimately with his characters. No razzamatazz, hearts and flowers, action aplenty stuff here, just courtesy, courtly respect juxtaposed with humbly superior yet fallible, sleuthing and investigation.

Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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For insomnia suffers

Narrator was excellent, story so so. ENTERTAINMENT for insomnia suffers. If you like a mystery with an historical background, you might get a bit excited about this book.

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  • AKowalczyk
  • 05-01-2020

Wonderful!!!

So glad to have found this series!! Very well written and Steven Crossley’s narration is superb! If you enjoy CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake or Susanna Gregory’s Matthew Bartholomew- I’m sure you’ll enjoy this!!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Chana Goanna
  • 29-12-2019

Thrilled to have found this series

It’s hard to find a book that combines interesting history, good writing, a great narrator, and an excellent mystery. This one is a winner in all four aspects. If you’re a fan of CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series, try this book. Surgery in the 14th century was a ghastly affair, and Starr provides enough grisly detail for interest while not overdoing it. Stephen Crossley of the Shardlake series narrates this one as well, and he’s wonderful as always. I listened to this in two sittings, and it kept me distracted and entertained while deep-cleaning my kitchen. I can’t think of a better recommendation than that!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Gail N.
  • 29-02-2020

Enchanting medieval mystery

This book has much to enjoy: a bit of philosophy, a bit of theology, a bit of pleasure in nature, reflections on the human condition and several captivating mysteries. The characters are interesting and not at all stereotypical. The writing is first rate with quite a bit of wry humor and quite a bit of drama to enliven this medieval story. Above all, the narration is understated and relaxing, a perfect pairing. I look forward to enjoying the rest of this series.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Paul M. Stackhouse
  • 23-01-2020

Intriguing and Interesting

What a multi-faceted character Starr has created! Looking forward to "reading" the next books in the series. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pro Bachlor
  • 03-03-2020

Heart warming <br />

Good guys win, bad guys die. just as it should be.
Nice narration. Relaxing listening

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • george
  • 19-06-2020

Investigating Murder with an odd Twist.

Fellow Reader / Listeners - I suspended disbelief for the first of this series as the idea of a Surgeon being asked to investigate a death, was to the best of my understanding very unlikely, if only because of how low down the social order Surgeons were., (At the time, the title would likely have been Barber/ Surgeon although this isn't userd in the novels).

I ended up reading / listening to the First 5 in this series as there are links from one to the next and a few common and crucial characters. This was skillfully done.

However, there are increasingly obvious and almost ridiculous situational and social actions that do not ring true. Without revealing plot lines as these are for others to discover:
I cannot believe that a lowly Barber / Surgeon would defy a Knight and escape sanction
I will not believe that a lowly Barber/ Surgeon would defy his all powerful Lord, putting his own future at risk, for a scullery maid or that a
A woman in Medieval England would be given the choice to reject a Knight Suitor in favour of a Barber Surgeon by her upwardly mobile businessman Father.

I wont be reading the rest in the series.


1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-02-2020

Light but enjoyable

Quite an easy and unchallenging read but enjoyable. I may read more in this series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C Brown
  • 16-08-2020

Very Happy with the First Installment

I have listened to and am a huge fan of the CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series. When we found out of Mr Sansom’s terminal illness not only were we grieved for the fine author himself but the end to a wonderful series that had become a favorite.
Then I downloaded The Unquiet Bones and am thrilled to be listening and enjoying the same well-written Medieval historical mystery.
If you are a Shardlake fan, you’ll be happy with this as well!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 05-07-2020

Needs way more suspense

Nice, un-offensive story, but there is no character development or suspense, The narrator speaks in a monotone for the entire time, which is how the character comes off. Other than one red herring the story proceeds predictably and I could see the ending coming way ahead of time. The character never really has any problems to overcome, nor ever gets into danger or trouble. So there is no suspense to keep you turning pages.

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  • K Erins
  • 07-06-2020

I liked it

Romance and adventure with Lord's and Ladies. Throw in a murder or two minus someone who wasn't murdered and you find an entertaining story, worth your time for something easy.

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  • james k s smith
  • 21-03-2020

well told interesting story

enjoyed the narrative, story well told thank you
plot was good , love story well told too

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • The Curator
  • 15-01-2020

Enjoyable

Surgeon turned Bailiff hunts killers. Rattled along decently and was a good solid plot. The main character didn’t grab me but but might grow on me in later books.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer Chennell
  • 18-03-2020

pleasant book

Its a reasobable book, story quite good and goes at a reasonble pace. Not particularly taxing so great for when listening to while doing other things just not while operating machinery because the narrator is soporific.. not so terrible that you cant dtand listening to him but not a real story teller.

2 people found this helpful

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  • pixiepaws
  • 01-08-2020

didn't always keep my attention

it was fine but there wasn't enough twists and turns for me to keep me on a knife edge.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cyndy foard
  • 11-07-2020

unquiet bones

loved it and a
great storyline
easy listening too
looking forward to book number 2

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sylvia Mackay
  • 01-07-2020

Excellent

Easy listening and you could easily pick up the story. Love the narrator who acts out all the characters.

1 person found this helpful