Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £22.49

Buy Now for £22.49

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

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

More from the same

What listeners say about The Unquiet Bones

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    102
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    85
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Shardlake's Younger Brother, the surgeon

Anyone who admired the Shardlake series and especially Stephen Crossley's narration, as i did, will enjoy this book and hopefully the series, I have immediately downloaded book 2!
The plot seemed slightly less edgy and aggressive than the Shardlake plots but was still enjoyable and Stephen Crossley was once again excellent.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

history come to life

I so enjoyed the Shardlake stories I felt quite saddened to have read them all. And then I discovered Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and found myself happily back in the medieval world of intrigue. This was an interesting story with great characterisation, brought to life by the excellent evocative narration of Stephen Crossley. I can highly recommend this book

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

well told interesting story

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

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and engaging

I enjoyed this audiobook.

It was nicely performed, and the reading was done smoothly and at a nice pace.

The story itself was entertaining, although not the most challenging of mysteries, pretty well-researched, with interesting characters, and a good first person narrative. I found Hugh to be an engaging character, an unenthusiastic and not exactly brilliant detective, a bit uncomfortable in many social situations, and a lonely romantic on the quiet. His fixation on food was amusing, and, in a time when famine was common and the range of food available was restricted, a nice touch. His religious faith was nicely included, and it came across as natural for someone brought up in 14th century England. The author had clearly done their research and wove the facts neatly into the story. The way it was written made it "feel" like an old form of English without making me work at following it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Ponderous.

The author clearly knows a lot about the period and, having written a book myself I know the effort that must have gone into the writing of this novel. However, although the author is clearly very knowledgeable for the most part about the daily lives and feudal structure of the period, this actually tends to get in the way of the story, which is seriously lacking in pace. There is too much repeated detail, for example, of various meals, and much of the dialogue could have been cut and the information given in reported speech, which would ramp up the pace somewhat. There is no sense of jeopardy for the protagonist - he bumbles along, deliberating and commenting, without there ever being the sense that he is under pressure to discover the identity of the murderers - even at the climax of the book, where we are told that he must find out the truth before Christmas day, three days hence, he still keeps bumbling along. I wonder if the choice of a first person narrator was the best one, or whether a third person narrator would have helped with the pace? Whatever - the book badly needed a structural edit.
As for the motive of one of the murderers, it just does not stand up, given the hierarchy at the time.
I don't think the performance helped either. The reader reinforces the pompous and ponderous tone of the novel with a very slow delivery and some rather odd intonation, to my way of thinking.
I listened to the whole novel but am not enamoured enough of the protagonist to venture further with him.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Promising New Series

I love a mediaeval/Tudor mystery and having worked my way through every Shardlake, Cadfael and Matthew Bartholomew I am pleased to find these. Stephen Crossley is a fine narrator and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A real find!

I had not come across this series before and have very much enjoyed the first one. There is a lot of mediocre stuff in the historical crime genre but this is entertaining and with the ring of authenticity. Recommended.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for AKowalczyk
  • AKowalczyk
  • 05-01-20

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!!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chana Goanna
  • Chana Goanna
  • 29-12-19

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!

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for george
  • george
  • 19-06-20

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.


18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gail N.
  • Gail N.
  • 29-02-20

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.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Susan
  • Susan
  • 05-07-20

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for barbara
  • barbara
  • 22-01-21

Not one that will grip you

Have to admit i like a mystery that pulls you in and won’t let you go til you reach the end. This isn’t one of those. If you like a likable narration and a main character you want to read more about then this is for you. Its a story you can pick up and put down but still want. To read to the end

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul M. Stackhouse
  • Paul M. Stackhouse
  • 23-01-20

Intriguing and Interesting

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

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pro Bachlor
  • Pro Bachlor
  • 03-03-20

Heart warming

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

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for C Brown
  • C Brown
  • 16-08-20

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!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marianna J. Groth
  • Marianna J. Groth
  • 23-11-20

Perfect narrator for this tale!

Set in the 1600's and related by a very fitting voice. I'm delighted to have discovered this series.

2 people found this helpful