From the back of the book-Garway church was built by medieval Knights Templar, whose stone coffin lids can be seen in its altar steps and window sills. 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 Cornwall. But renovation plans stall when a specialist builder refuses to work there, insisting it's a place that doesn't want to be restored.
Directed by the Bishop of Hereford to investigate, Merrily Watkins is unconvinced, wary of being used and suspicious of the people she's supposed to be helping. But violent death changes everything, and Merrily uncovers hidden layers of sin and retribution in a secretive landscape where local inns have astrological names and a feud between two local families has its roots in medieval history.
Warned off when her inquiries stumble into forbidden areas, Merrily has no option but to conceal a major crime as she goes back to Garway to find fibres of fear stitched into history and insidiously twisted in the corridors-and the cloisters-of power.
I read this quite some time ago and the specific details have become a little fuzzy in the intervening months. I do recall being quite satisfied with the twist ending, which is no surprise really since Rickman is one of my favourite authors and rarely does his work fail to keep my interest. He manages to intertwine the supernatural and the mundane in such a way as to effortlessly convince the reader that this is simply how the world is.
I also like that the presence of evil isn't always attributed to the metaphysical. There is quite enough evil in the hearts of man to be getting on with and Rickman uses this to great effect while still making the spiritual/paranormal an integral element of his stories.
As I said, it's been a while, and I think it's time I picked up the next in this series.-Lynn