• Without a Trace

  • The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon, Book 12
  • By: Mel Starr
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (292 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lady Philippa, the wife of Sir Aymer, a knight of the realm, disappears while travelling from her husband’s manor to Bampton. She and her maid are traveling in an enclosed wagon, while her husband and his grooms and a squire are mounted.

When the party arrives at Bampton Castle neither the lady nor her maid are within the enclosed wagon: they have simply vanished. As the disappearance may have happened while the travelers were on Lord Gilbert’s lands, his surgeon and bailiff, Hugh de Singleton, is assigned to discover what has happened to the lady. Has she been taken? Her has she fled her husband?

A few days later her husband receives a ransom demand, and Hugh is named to deliver the money. Why him? The ransom is paid, but the lady is not returned. Can Hugh help find her, or is it already too late?

©2019 Mel Starr (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Without a Trace

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  • Overall
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  • Ty
  • 03-12-22

Almost love

Read almost the entire series and like the characters and stories. But Starr has the tendency to write an intriguing mystery that builds for chapters then ends with someone more or less admitting the crime in its entirety w very little prompting in the last couple chapters. Everytime I go from a 4-5 stars to a 3 because I'm aggravated by the abrupt endings. Such a talented writer but bad finisher.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

This is one of the best in the series and I was happy to find that Mel Starr is not running out of ideas. It was nice to have Steven Crossley back for this installment as well. Now I just have to decide if I wait for the next book's audio release or read it the old fashioned way.

1 person found this helpful

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Not one of Starr’s Best

I want to start by saying I truly enjoy this series. It’s not the best medieval mystery series out there, but it is entertaining and provides interesting insight into the mid-14th century. Having said this, Without a Trace is my least favorite to date. I wouldn’t go so far to say that Starr is phoning it in, but this book doesn’t live up to the previous Singleton tales. Typically, red herrings abound, but Hugh spends far too much time going down these rabbit holes. There is a lot of repetition, not only of plot points and inside jokes that seem to be repeated in every book, but also internally - with some passages nearly repeated in more than one spot. The editor really fell down on the job.

For those who welcome the return of Steven Crossley’s narration, I can only say I prefer Tim Bruce. Crossley is a solid voice actor, but there were inconsistencies in his pronunciation and, at one point, he read a whole section of dialogue between Hugh and Wycliffe and mixed up their voices. Not a dealbreaker, but it did pull me out of the story a bit.

Overall, I’d suggest reading it if you’ve stuck with the series so far (there is a development that is important if you’re following the characters’ story arcs), but I hope for better in Starr’s next outing.

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  • Vi
  • 02-20-22

I LOVE this series!! High de Singleton = excellent

This whole series is wonderful. Hugh de Singleton, is humble, makes mistakes & gets there in the end. The characters are well formed & so are the mysteries. The details are correct historically. I just really really enjoyed all of it & HOPE that they release 13 & 14 in audio format (and 15 when it comes out) Steven Crossley is wonderful - as usual!!

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These get better and better!!!

Another excellent story from Mel Starr! This is thoroughly enjoyable and the author explains the fact that the places and some characters are historically accurate. Very interesting!!

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WELCOME BACK STEVEN CROSSLEY!!

When I first began listening to this wonderful series, it was Crossley’s vocal performance that brought the story to life. Then, he was replaced. The next reader was adequate, but did not rise to Crossley’s skill. Thank you Mr. Crossley for returning to grace our imaginations of Starr’s story of mysteries, crimes and miscreants at work, with your superlative performance.

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Rooting for the right ending

This is another gentle, slow-paced mystery that you just need to relax into while doing something else. Time and setting are interesting, especially with the historical after-notes from the author. This mystery was easier to figure out than the others. Once I did, there was anticipation to finish and see if it had the ending I wanted.

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Superb

Mel Starr and this reader (who’s name escapes me at this time) are superb!
The research and literary value alone are exceptional. This exceeds many scholarly articles and books- I’ve read too many to number. The reader is well educated and well spoken and conveys the sentiment and meaning flawlessly. This is all around entertaining, educational, and the cast entirely likable.

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Entertaining light reading

I really liked the book series; it's well written with amenable characters, a nice historical setting and is perfect for distraction.

It doesn't have great character development, turns or an amazing plot. But there's nothing wrong with that,
it does serve its purpose.

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Excellent original storylines and narration

This, book 12, may be one of the best in the series. I particularly appreciate Hugh's application of his reading and understanding of Holy Writ to his final actions in the resolution of such a quandary.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-22

meh

lots of repetitions of past story events, not the best penned story but is passable

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  • Oxfordshire lady
  • 06-11-22

A Medieval Mystery. Wrapped up in a history lesson

I love the Mel Starr stories. I love in Oxfordshire and love to hear the names of places I know so well, even if many of them lie in ruins

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-22

Another treat

An excellent and well- researched story, enhanced enormously by the excellent narrator, who never once makes a jarring note.

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  • Steph H
  • 04-09-22

Great series

I'm doing a review for the whole series as I've left it so long since I started listening to them.

I would highly recommend this series and in fact I have done so to a number of people already. Very impressed with the writing, the research that seems to have been done and the historical accuracy is excellent.

Nice characters, good pace, interesting stories. Really interesting to see the ability of surgeons then and the ways Hugh deducts things.

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  • Hereford
  • 03-22-22

Superb

A most enjoyable listen with a superb narrator. Wholeheartedly recommended. I do hope the saga will continue.

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  • Rose
  • 03-22-22

a condescending narrator

Maybe I listened to too many of series at once, but struggled with this one!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-13-22

New narrator for book12

I'm sure this narrator probably has great talents, but you just can't change all the characters after 10s of hours of listening. such a shame. Other than that another great yarn

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  • Sue
  • 12-26-21

Hugh de Singleton as always a 'Diamond Geezer'

Over long but very well told and good story! Will listen to more Mel Starr

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  • Jon Boon
  • 09-19-21

Great series

I Loved the whole series, it is a pity the storey teller changed half way through

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  • Alison
  • 09-08-21

Without a Trace

I do like these books but find them rather repetitive. For example the clue of a coloured thread from a coathardie has come up quite a few times. The author repeats himself regarding his likes in each book. I like the medieval recipes and even tried a Leach Lombardy once which turned out quite acceptably.
It seems as if modern ideas about women are contrasted with their medieval treatment by men. For example abuse by husbands and escape to an Abbey/convent. Divorce was not countenanced. More often annulment.
I like the gentle pace of life in the 14th century. I have looked up the places so can visualise the geography.
More please.