The Remains of an Altar: A Merrily Watkins Mystery

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Quercus Publishing, Sep 6, 2007 - Fiction - 512 pages

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PollyMoore3 - LibraryThing

I think this is the one where the excellence and inventiveness of the first books in the series starts to fade just a tiny bit. Characters and situations are a little more sketched in and less developed. Still a good read though. Read full review


User Review  - Kirkus

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

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 the Merrily Watkins mystery series, 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, The Smile of a Ghost, The Fabric of Sin and To Dream of the Dead.

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