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Publisher's Summary

A paradise parish of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses, and a huge, haunted vicarage were not what the Revd Merrily Watkins ever had in mind. Nor had she wanted to walk into a local dispute over a play about a curious 17th century cleric accused of witchcraft, a story that certain old-established families would rather remained in obscurity. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets. And also as Merrily and her teenage daughter, Jane, discover, a village where horrific murder is a tradition spanning centuries.
©1998 Phil Rickman; (P)Isis Publishing Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Woven through is the wonderful web of mysticism and the supernatural which we have come to expect....The clever combination of modern idiom and the timeless echo of history leaps from every page." (Daily Express)
"A first-rate thriller with supernatural overtones...deftly illuminates the intrigues of village life. Quirky characters, an abundance of plot twists." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ruth on 03-07-12


Discovered Phil Rickman thru an audible recommendation in 2009 and I never looked back. His novels are hard to categorize but are based on strong character development and for those fascinated with all things UK he interlaces mystery, crime, faith, music, single parent life, politics and history into fabulous tales. I am not religious nor brought up in the Christian faith so it took a long time before I said yes to this recommendation. mmmm, female Church of England clergy who becomes an exorcist in subsequent novels? Really? Really! Add - a bit of the supernatural as possibility.

Rebecca Lacey is the narrator of "wine of roses" - the first Merrily Watkins and Emma Powell takes over in the second book of this series. Both super narrators. All books are available in audio but not all are yet available on audible. Most are available as e-books. Read, read, read!!! (listen :).) Characters are a bit quirky to US readers but this is what makes them so appealing.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

By Polly on 01-27-14

A Long Way to go for a Good Ending

Throughout the listening of this book, I frequently thought, "When will something happen?"

The author, I presume, wanted to represent real life, which is full of long dull conversations and uneventful days. But I was bored. The last 30 minutes of the story really grabbed me, but was it worth the first 15 1/2 hours? I'm not convinced it was.

I liked the main characters, and I would like to know what happens to them in the rest of the series. Maybe I can find "cliff notes."

I want to add that the narrator read this book in what was almost a monotone. Yikes.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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By Jane on 11-30-07

Grabbed me midway through

About a third of a way into this novel I was seriously considering trying something else instead. I didn't know where the plot was going and there were several unpleasant characters with long stretches of dialogue. Gradually, however, it began to grip me and at the end I lay awake way too late into the night to finish listening to it, then woke up the next morning to order the next in the series (which is Midwinter of the Spirit). So, it's a fairly slow start but bear with it because all the plot elements gradually twist together and there are various gripping mysteries that reach a satisfying conclusion.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

By A. Watson on 08-24-06

Pink Moon Is Gonna Get Ye All

Rickman seduces you into his sleepy, pastoral village of Ledwardine with promises of home brewed cider and fairies at the bottom of the orchard. Only when it's too late for the reader/listener to catch the last bus home does he scratch away the surface to reveal the sordid underbelly of English country life doused in incest, blood-feuds, rape and murder.
This, the first of the Merrily Watkins procedurals is a ghost story wrapped inside a mystery and bound tightly together with the twine of dark folklore. It also delivers a plot twist that gives the sort of jolt you would normally only expect from a gibbet trapdoor.
As always Rickman's dialogue is a joy as he fleshes out the various suicidal dreamers, quirky eccentrics and sexual predators who inhabit his strange little village. As Nick Drake, the quintessential lost soul himself, who makes an eerie cameo role in the book says - The Pink Moon is gonna get you all!

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16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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By Rahbeka on 09-27-17

Great storytelling

Another very enjoyable Phil Rickman book. This is the second book by him that I have listened to and it has secured him a place on my short list of favourite authors. I love his skillful tension building, great characters and dark, esoteric themes. I was genuinely disappointed when the story ended and rushed off to purchase the next installment in the Merrily Watkins series. The narrator did a fantastic job too.

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By Bonita N. Jones on 09-14-16

Fabulous. Suspense. Has it all

Loved this audible book. Great story, great narrator. Looking forward to reading the next instalment

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