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Publisher's Summary

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.

And things get no easier: as an early winter slices through the old city of Hereford, a body is found in the River Wye, an ancient church is desecrated, and there are signs of dark ritual on a hill overlooking the city.

©1999 Phil Rickman; (P)2007 Isis Publishing Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"Dark ritual and psychic unrest confront Britain's first female exorcist. Endearing." (Publishing News)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Catherine
  • Potsdam, NY, United States
  • 03-16-10

Another Good One from Rickman

Audible, you need to have ALL of Rickman's books available! This one was a good listen and was paced enough to keep me interested until the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another great read in the Merrily series!

Once again Phil Rickman doesn't disappoint. Merrily, Huw, Lol and Jane team up to solve a number of seemingly random occurrences involving desecration of churches, hauntings and not a few seemingly unrelated dead bodies,

Rickman introduces us to the insidious nature of evil in the character of Denzil Joy "scritch, scratch" ooooh it still runs shivers down my spine.

The characters, many from Wine of Angels have the opportunity to interact and develop through this book and we begin to see the blossoming of something wonderfully supportive happening between Lol and Merrily, and Merrily and Jane .

Having been a teenage girl I love how wonderfully sarcastic and quietly confused Jane is portrayed and look forward to seeing what comes of her in future books.

I was surprised that the delightful character of Gomer Parry was not reprised in this book but am glad to here there is another earlier book which details how he met his Minnie and where he used to live before we met him in Wine.

Lastly the character of Inspector Howe is growing on me -she's so rigid and tightly controlled.....I keep waiting for her to burst!

There are a number of different accents, all rendered amazingly well by the narrator-I would recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries mixed with a bit of 'otherworldliness'.

Thanks Phil you've done a marvellous job :)


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  • SPM
  • Baschi - TR, Italy
  • 12-13-14

Really good second book in the series

Loved this book even more than the first one and will certainly continue to follow Merrily Watkins' adventures. Well written, well crafted and well narrated.

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  • Overall
  • A. Watson
  • 09-24-07

Killer Thriller Chiller

`Mid Winter of the Spirit' begins with Merrily receiving training for her new post as Diocesan Exorcist. It's insidiously creepy stuff and the subject matter changes the reader's context of what is fictional and what is not - blurring the lines between real evil and the artificial villainy fabricated for the sole purpose of selling novels. Scary or not, just think how much fun it would be if they replaced `Hells Kitchen' with `Exorcist School'. We could vote off inept Priests who bungle their exorcisms and end up with pea soup on their vestments.

Once Merrily is declared fit for action she finds herself to be a political pawn in a game of ecumenical chess run by the power hungry Bishop of Hereford and she receives no help from the outward bound Exorcist-in-charge, Canon Dobbs who refuses point blank to even speak to Merrily never mind show her the tricks of the trade. He even goes so far as to ensure that Merrily is exposed to raw, festering evil in the shape of Denzil Joy. It gets worse for Merrily when daughter Jane once again chooses the wrong people to hang out with and is sucked into a Pagan worship group, generating a domestic conflict that almost destroys Merrily's already fragile relationship with her daughter. Aside from this there's the small matter of a malevolent spirit in the Cathedral and Merrily finding herself targeted in the cross hairs of a Satanic group who view her as a vulnerable link in the Church's last line of defence.

A highly original mixture of the `crime-mystery thriller' and `hair-raising chiller' genres and places Phil Rickman way ahead of writers on either side of these borders. A great book.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mr
  • 08-06-08

Great Audio book

This is really a great audio book. The story is really enthralling and the narration is the best I come across. I've listened to hundreds of audio books over the years and I must say that this is one of the best. I'd never come across Phil Rickman before and I just thought I'd take a chance on it, I am certainly glad I did.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • R. J. Gladden
  • 09-27-13

Spooky goings on

This is not really my genre, but then again what sort of genre is this? Its not fantasy or horror or your average murder mystery although it contains elements of all three and wouldn't normally be my cup of tea at all. However, Merrily is an amazing character, lone parent with a difficult teenage daughter (totally empathise there) and a female vicar to boot who has the unlikely job of diocesan exorcist or deliverer.

From this one story, I have gone on to read three more Merilly Watkins novels and have enjoyed every one. So, my advice is, don't label it, just listen to it and enjoy enormously.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anabella
  • 12-03-08

Top Quality Merrily Watkins Mystery

Merrily Watkins is certainly one of the best drawn characters in contemporary mystery fiction. This book was totally enthralling and the writing truely conjured a wintery supernatural atmosphere.
Merrily is once again a 'woman of the cloth' under pressure personally and professionally and yet Rickman writes the character as neither arrogant nor simpering. Merrily is very much an ordinary woman who, in this story in particular, has an extraordinary job to do.
The familiar characters of Merrily's daughter Jane and friend Lol Robinson are key which adds to the enjoyment, and there are a host of other rich charaters too. This book was very well read and each character made distinct. Great listening !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Caron French
  • 05-17-17

Interesting read with a different twist

Slightly more padding than I think it needed to make the story flow but a really good mystery with a different twist. There were plenty of diverse characters to keep the reader engaged & the location enhances the story with local Herefordshire history. I really enjoyed it & will look at other books by this author

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  • P. F. Mcwilliams
  • 12-06-16

Better than the TV show

Brilliantly narrated, Rickmans books convey s sense of unease and dark dread. Just superb!


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  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 09-18-16

not like the tv adaption

Any additional comments?

once more a well written and performed story.<br/>I was waiting for the content to be in line with what I had watched on tv and it was nothing like it.<br/>initially I found it a bit slow but still enjoyed it. the ending was slightly reminiscent of dennis wheatley stories which I liked.<br/>looking forward to the next story.

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  • Gabrielle Harvey-Jones
  • 02-28-16

Very involving!

I am not, usually, a fan of anything 'spooky' but I love Phil Rickman's work! I greatly enjoy his characters and, although I live quite close to the various places mentioned, did not have the problem with Emma Powell's narration that other reviewers mention. All in all a delight all round! Suffice it to say that I am busy downloading the next book in the series as I write this!

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  • MBNA
  • 11-28-15

Took a bit of time

Took a bit of time to get into. Quite a lot of characters, needed a bit of patience because many threads took time to come clear.. But the reading was very good as was the story. Worth listening too

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  • Abi
  • 10-19-15

Bit slow moving but very well written

This is not an action packed book, but a gentle glide through the story. Some tense moments interspersed with long bits where not much happens. However, it did keep me coming back which is more than can be said for many books.
The performance and the narrator are excellent - really easy to listen to, and a good range of voices for different characters which made the story much more easy to follow.

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  • Bonita N. Jones
  • 10-02-16

Edge of seat

Brilliantly written, brilliantly narrated. Rollicking story. Lots of twists and turns. Very spooky and atmospheric