Wednesday, March 17

Phil Rickman: The Smile of a Ghost

When a young boy dies falling from the tower of a ruined castle the question of accident or suicide is raised. But his recently retired police detective uncle thinks neither to be the case. He suspects something a lot more sinister and confides the fact to his priest.
Along with gang related violence on the estate where the boy lived, the child’s fascination with history and involvement with ghost walks, a death obsessed singing star had befriended him shortly before his fall and a number of her goth fans have copied his example and leapt off the tower since.
The priest, facing an uncertain future herself, becomes entangled in the case. Slowly she unravels the bizarre web in which the boy had inadvertently become involved. Setting a number of spirits to rest in the process.
The Smile of a Ghost was a welcome return to form for Rickman after the not quite up to par Prayer of the Night Shepherd.
The main characters and their relationships to each other continue to grow and develop realistically without becoming too predictable. The primary plot was delightfully complex without becoming unnecessarily complicated. I particularly liked the secondary plot which I found by turns to be believably frustrating for the heroine and amusing in its likelihood.
I am very happy to see this series is nowhere near running out of steam and look forward to reading the next instalment.-Lynn

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