Remains of an Altar: A Merrily Watkins MysteryPaperback Merrily Watkins Mysteries
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- Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
- Format: Paperback | 512 pages
- Dimensions: 114mm x 174mm x 34mm | 320g
- Publication date: 6 September 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1847240917
- ISBN 13: 9781847240910
- Sales rank: 116,609
Merrily Watkins, parish priest, single mum and Deliverance Consultant to the Diocese of Hereford, heads for the Malvern Hills to investigate an alleged paranormal dimension to a spate of road accidents in the sleepy village of Wychehill. Merrily is called in when two people are killed in a head-on crash that is also linked to the revamped local pub which, it seems, has injected the valley with a shattering, strobing surge of inner-city nightlife...and drugs. When a dealer is found savagely murdered below the great earthen hillfort of Herefordshire Beacon, police ask: is it a ritual killing, a gangland disposal or a cry of outrage? As Merrily and the police follow separate paths towards the truth, Merrily's teenage daughter, Jane, faces the consequences of her own obsession with a possibly prehistoric site in their home village of Ledwardine. Until, on a night of frenzied violence, in a place at the centre of an ancient, universal mystery, the final, shocking connections are made.
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Phil Rickman lives on the Welsh border where he writes and presents the book programme Phil the Shelf on BBC Radio Wales. He is the author of seven previous Merrily Watkins' Mysteries, introducing the Reverend in The Wine of Angels, and charting her career as the diocesan exorcist with Midwinter of the Spirit, A Crown of Lights, The Cure of Souls, The Lamp of the Wicked, The Prayer of the Night Shepherd and The Smile of a Ghost.
'Compassionate, original and sharply contemporary, Rickman's crime series is one of the best around' The Spectator. 'Crime fiction lovers who like their stories with a quirky twist need look no further' Yorkshire Evening Post. 'First rate. A passionate, flawed, modern woman, every bit as concerned with the intricacies of crime as with demons that go bump in the night' Daily Mail.
The spirit of Edward Elgar, Britain's greatest ecclesiastical composer, haunts the byroads of the village of Wychehill.In his latest, Jane, the 17-year-old daughter of Merrily Watkins, Deliverance Consultant for the Church of England, is about to be expelled from school for upsetting the local councilmen who wish to bulldoze Coleman Meadow and erect 24 luxury estate houses on the site. Jane believes the hillside represents a worship area that harks back to the Druids and should be left intact. Complicating matters, Merrily has been called in by the local vicar, Syd Spicer, ex-SAS, to conduct an exorcism of the bicycle-pedaling ghost of Sir Edward Elgar, whose sightings have caused numerous accidents along the road. Meanwhile, Tim Loste, a local choirmaster obsessed with Elgar and goaded by a hippie-dippie occult writer, not only seems determined to recreate a Perpetual Choir that will restore balance and harmony to the earth, but may have sliced and diced a drug dealer working near an ancient sacrificial stone. Merrily's musician lover Lol provides help in analyzing Elgar's music and entree to anthropologist Alfred Watkins (no relation) and horror writer Algernon Blackwood; Jane relies on a crusty septuagenarian for aid.Rickman (The Smile of a Ghost, 2005, etc.) is equally enamored of historical scholarship, ectoplasmic sleight-of-hand and village rumor-mongering. Readers will be left with an urge to wander the English countryside while whistling Elgar's tunes. Be advised, however, that the dark doings unfold at a stately pace. (Kirkus Reviews)