In July, we're having a slight change of plan. You're probably wondering why the text shows The Unquiet Bones and the picture shows Death Comes to Pemberley. We originally chose The Unquiet Bones without checking to see if the library systems had sufficient copies. Turns out, they don't. Cleveland Public Library only had 2 copies. Cuyahoga County Public Library had none. So, we chose a second book, Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James. If you can't get hold of the Mel Starr book, you can read the P. D. James one. Or you can read both - we'll be ready to discuss both at this meetup.
So, first up, we're visiting the 14th century at the time of the Black Death with The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr.
Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, he feels no real calling-despite his lively faith-and he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris and then hanging his sign in Oxford. Soon after, a local lord asks Hugh de Singleton to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cesspool. Through his medical knowledge, Singleton identifies her as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith. The young man she loved-whom she had provoked very publicly-is quickly arrested and sentenced at Oxford. But this is just the beginning of the tale. The story of Singleton's adventure unfolds with realistic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, romantic distractions, and a consistent underlying sense of Christian compassion.
Mel Starr has spent many years teaching history, and has studied medieval surgery and medieval English. He lives in Michigan.
We then jump forward in time to 1803 for P. D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley.
A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.
It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.
Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.