Author: Phil Rickman, 1998.
Genre: Horror. Mystery. Haunted Places.
Other Details: ebook. 589 pages.
The new vicar had never wanted a picture-postcard parish - or a huge and haunted vicarage. Nor had she wanted to walk into a dispute over a controversial play about a seventeenth-century clergyman accused of witchcraft... a story that certain long-established families would rather remained obscure. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets.. A paradise of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. And also - as Merrily Watkins and her teenage daughter, Jane, discover - a village where horrific murder is a tradition that spans centuries. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.
This is a series that I have wanted to read for a while and even snagged most of the books to date during a Kindle sale, last year Lucky then that I totally enjoyed this first outing for Merrily, which sets the stage for the series as she takes her first position as priest-in-charge of Ledwardine in Herefordshire. It introduced a wide cast of locals characters.
It was a rather long book though this seems to be the kind of length for most of Rickman's novels. Also, the ending did feel a little chaotic though this did not diminish the overall quality of the story-telling, satisfying characterisations and the low and careful depiction of village life in the west of England. The supernatural element is quite understated and linked to a sense of place rather than the standard horror fare. I look forward to more from the series.