24 Apr 2023

Suppression and Suspicion by Mel Starr

Genre: Crime/Mystery- Historical
Period: Medieval- 14th Century

Edmund Harkins has gone missing.

Few in Bampton liked him, knowing him to be a wife-beater and distinctly unsavoury character, so when some hungry pigs unearth his corpse from a shallow grave, there is hardly an outpouring of grief.

As bailiff, it is Hugh de Singleton’s duty to bring Edmund’s killer to justice. But where is he to start investigating when almost everyone in the village has a motive? And when everyone is pleased to see the scoundrel dead, who knows how far they might go to help someone get away with murder?

To further complicate Hugh's life, the Bishop of Exeter has appointed his nephew as Bampton’s new vicar. But as well as an obsession with discovering any heretical views Hugh might hold, he could not be more unpriestly – he not only acts appallingly with Lady Katherine’s maid, but is contributing to the unhealthy atmosphere of suppression and suspicion that has come to pervade the village . . .

 Mel Starr paints an immersive and atmospheric picture of fourteenth-century England, and weaves a compelling mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐


I (usually) love my Hugh de Singleton books. This one was interesting and involved a lot more in terms of social attitudes and domestic issues than some of the other stories in the series. Towards the end I was rather concerned that it was going to be a rehash of an earlier story, Unhallowed Ground. There were similarities, but it wasn’t entirely the same.

I’m not sure I agreed with everything Hugh did and all the decisions he made in this one, but I could understand his motivation if not he justification. One thing I did find interesting was the idea of community justice in Medieval England, and the idea that people in villages might well deal with disputes in their own way, without any recourse to the central legal authorities who were seen as out of touch at best, and openly corrupt at worst.

I hope to continue reading more Hugh de Singleton books, moving forward as I do enjoy the series and I just hope the author doesn’t run out of ideas.

Thanks to Lion Fiction for approving my request for this title. I also pre-ordered the book for myself.
(The only thing which didn’t impress me with that was the number of pages stuck together because the book hadn’t been cut and finished properly, but this isn’t’ review of the book’s condition.)
Neither of these influenced my review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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