When autumn storms blast Hereford, centuries-old human bones are found among the roots of a blown down tree. At the nearby Cathedral, another storm is building around a new bishop who believes that the Church must phase out irrelevant archaic practices.
"I Really Enjoyed the Book But Not for Newcomers"
When a disused church is bought by a young pagan couple, who intend to use it for their own rituals, the evangelical local rector reacts with fury. In an isolated community on the Welsh border, an atmosphere of stifling menace develops - with the persecution of innocent people, false accusations and the formation of a Christian vigilante group. Diocesan deliverance consultant Merrily Watkins is expected to keep the peace as this cauldron of conflict threatens to boil over into serious violence.
Syd Spicer served with the SAS. He has been trained to overcome pain and fear in all their forms. Well…almost all. Faced with a situation that would normally be passed discreetly to Hereford deliverance consultant Merrily Watkins, Spicer is handling it himself…and coming close to breakdown. Is there a national security aspect here, or is it something more personal? With the framework of her own world beginning to crack, Merrily Watkins is persuaded to venture into areas where neither a priest nor a woman is welcome….
"Can't imagine a Merrily story without Emma Powell"
In Herefordshire's hop-growing country, a converted kiln is the scene of a savage murder. When the local vicar refuses to help its new owners cope with the aftermath, Merrily Watkins is sent in by the Bishop of Hereford to defuse the situation. Merrily, however, is already contending with a woman's claim that her daughter is possessed by evil. In both cases Merrily remains unconvinced, but nothing is ever quite what it seems.
A crumbling hotel on the border of England and Wales, a suggestion of inherited evil, a mystifying love affair...and the long-disputed origins of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s all endlessly fascinating for young Jane Watkins, flushed by the freedom of her first weekend job. But her mother, Merrily, Deliverance Consultant to the Diocese of Hereford, is increasingly aware of the sinister secrets that are being unearthed.
"A nicely woven tapestry...."
In the ruins of a haunted medieval abbey, four musicians hope to tap into the site's dark history. The experience almost destroys them.
"Ghosts of Decembers Past and Present"
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.
The village of Underhowle appeared to be on the brink of a new prosperity after half a century of decay…but now, instead, it seems destined for notoriety as the home of a psychotic serial killer of women. DI Francis Bliss of Hereford CID is convinced he knows where the bodies are buried, but diocesan Deliverance Consultant Merrily Watkins – called in to conduct a controversial funeral – wonders if Bliss isn’t blinkered by personal ambition.
"Enough Global Warming Scare Tactics!"
When offered the post once styled Church of England Deliverance Minister, the Reverend Merrily Watkins ¿ parish priest and single parent ¿ cannot easily refuse. But the retiring exorcist, strongly objecting to women priests, not only refuses to help Merrily but ensures that she's soon exposed to the job at its most terrifying.
"Another Good One from Rickman"
It is 1560, and Elizabeth Tudor has been on the throne for a year. Dr John Dee is her astrologer and consultant in the hidden arts…a controversial appointment in these days of superstition. Now the bookish Dee has been sent to Glastonbury to find the missing bones of King Arthur. With him is his Robert Dudley, a wild card…and possibly the Queen’s secret lover. The town is still mourning the gruesome execution of its abbot, Richard Whiting. But why was he killed?
"Historical Fiction with a Wicked Hint of Evil"
A man's body is found below a waterfall. It looks like suicide or an accidental drowning – until DI Frannie Bliss enters the dead man's home. What he finds there sends him to Merrily Watkins, the Diocese of Hereford's official advisor on the paranormal. It's nearly 40 years since Hay was declared an independent state by its self-styled king. A development seen at the time as a joke, a publicity scam.
"I Gotta Stop"
Glastonbury, legendary resting place of the Holy Grail, is a mysterious and haunting town. But when plump, dizzy Diane Ffitch returns home, it's with a sense of deep unease - and not only about her aristocratic family's reaction to her broken engagement and her New Age companions. Plans for a new motorway have intensified the old bitterness between the local people and the 'pilgrims', so already the sacred air is soured.
"Great sequel to Crybbe / Curfew"
Garway church was built by medieval Knights Templar, and after seven centuries, the Welsh Border village is still shadowed by their mysteries. A few fields away, the Master House, abandoned and falling into ruin, has been sold to the Duchy of Cornawll. But renovation plans stall when a specialist builder refuses to work there, insisting it's a place that doesn't want to be restored.
"My favorite Phil Rickman"
A new husband and a new house. Just as well, because Zoe doesn't like old. Back in the 1960s, this house was built to look ultra modern, with lots of glass and sharp angles. And it was going cheap, perhaps because of the self-inflicted death of a previous owner - notoriously bloody and prolonged. But Zoe didn't know that. And if her husband Jonathan knew, he kept very quiet. How is Merrily Watkins, diocesan exorcist for Hereford, to know what’s behind Zoe’s claim that the late Susan Lulham is still in residence?
"The House Is Surely Too Modern to be Haunted"
Though dead for two millennia, he remains perfectly preserved in black peat. The Man in the Moss is one of the most fascinating finds of the century. But, for the isolated Pennine community of Bridelow, his removal is a sinister sign. A danger to the ancient spiritual tradition maintained, curiously, by the Mothers' Union. In the weeks approaching Samhain - the Celtic feast of the dead - tragedy strikes again in Bridelow.
"Another creepy wonderful Rickman story"
For 400 years, the curfew bell has tolled nightly from the church tower of the small country town, Crybbe's only defence against the evil rising unbidden in its haunted streets. Radio reporter Fay Morrison came to Crybbe because she had no choice. Millionaire music tycoon Max Goff came because there was nothing left to conquer, except the power of the spirit. But he knew nothing of the town's legacy of dark magic - and nobody felt like telling him....
"Not as scary"
Ludlow: exquisite medieval streets, an imposing ruined castle and a weight of history and legend. Wealthy, famous people come here to live. A sad teenage boy comes here to die...dramatically, at sunset, in a fall from the ruins. Accident or suicide? Either way, no great mystery. Or is it? Robbie Walsh was the nephew of former Detective Sergeant Andy Mumford, who calls on Merrily Watkins when his ailing mother becomes convinced that she’s still seeing her dead grandson in the town.
"Ghosts Past, Ghosts Present and Ghosts Future"
Leo Defford doesn't believe in ghosts. But as the head of an independent production company, he does believe in high-impact TV. Defford hires journalist Grayle Underhill to research the history of Knap Hall, a one-time Tudor farmhouse that became the ultimate luxury guest house...until tragedy put it back on the market. Its recent history isn't conducive to a quick sale, but Defford isn't interested in keeping Knap Hall for longer than it takes to make a reality TV show that will run night after night....
"Big Brother in a haunted house, or Big Other"
Late December and the river is rising. The Herefordshire village of Ledwardine has not been flooded in living memory but in these days of climate change nothing is certain. Merrily Watkins, parish priest and diocesan exorcist, has learned that one of the incomers is an author who is a figure of hate for religious fundamentalists. Meanwhile, the Hereford police make a gruesome discovery linked to the Dinedor Serpent, a unique prehistoric monument.
"A Murder Mystery Wrapped Up in Rational Mysticism"
Corpse candles. Phantom funerals. The bird of death. It was insidious.... For Bethan, the schoolteacher, the old superstitions woven into the social fabric of her West Wales village are primitive and distasteful. Which is why she's pleased to welcome the sophisticated newcomers: London journalist Giles Freeman and his wife, Claire. Surely they'll let in some fresh air.
"Beautifully atmospheric, subtle horror"