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A Crown of Lights MP3 CD – MP3 Audio, 1 Dec 2008

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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books (1 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753133733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753133736
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,648,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Phil Rickman writes mystery in the original sense. His current novels blend authentic crime fiction with a careful element of the unexplained. A three-part, peak-hour ITV serial, Midwinter of the Spirit, from the internationally-acclaimed Merrily Watkins series about the diocesan exorcist for Hereford aired in autumn 2015 to wide critical acclaim.

Rickman, a former TV and radio news reporter who still presents the book programme Phil the Shelf on BBC Radio Wales, has also written two historical novels with a new take on Dr John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. His earliest novels - paranormal thrillers based on aspects of British folklore - are all in print. His Merrily Watkins novella. The House of Susan Lulham, first published as a short story in the anthology, Oxcrimes is published in mini-hardback in October 2015, to be followed by the new full-length Merrily novel, Friends of the Dusk, on December 3. He's also a contributor to Books to Die For, in which crime writers celebrate their literary heroes.

The 2014 novel, Night After Night is a ghost story and crime novel. It stands alone but involves characters from two thrillers originally written under the name Will Kingdom. PR has also collaborated with musician Allan Watson to produce on CD and iTunes the songs of Lol Robinson from the Merrily series and the Abbey Tapes from his early novel December. He is married and lives on the Welsh Border.

For the full and accurate facts, check out the website

Product Description


The paranormal investigator with a down-to-earth attitude. This is no rural paradise --Sunday Telegraph

A haunting quality unique in crime fiction... rich in atmosphere and practically unique --Great British Fictional Detectives, Russell James --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A disused church near a Welsh border hamlet has already been sold off by the Church when it's discovered that the new owners are 'pagans' who intend to use the building for their own rituals. The local rector, an extreme evangelical, is appalled and blames these inoffensive middle-class witches for infesting the whole community with evil… even calling in the diocesan exorcist, Revd Merrily Watkins. An atmosphere of stifling menace develops - with the persecution of innocent people, false accusations, and the formation of a Christian vigilante group.

As this cauldron of conflict threatens to boil over into serious violence, Merrily uses all the diplomacy she can muster. But, as the confrontation moves towards its climax at Candlemass, she is unaware of a personal threat against her from a deranged and violent man.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Jan. 2002
Format: Hardcover
A young Wiccan couple, newcomers to the mysterious area of the English/Welsh border, who want to reconsecrate a ruined church on their land in the name of the old pagan gods.
A fundamentalist local minister who is profoundly provoked by this, all the more as this church is one of five dedicated to St Michael, warrior against dragons.
A country solicitor who cannot seem to let his dead wife go.
And Old Hindwell, the small border community, holds quite a few more dark and unsettling secrets. In the midst of all this and with conflicts growing on all sides, the Rev. Merrily Watkins, 'diocesan deliverance consultant', finds herself not only in a situation where her own beliefs and loyalty to the church are seriously tested, but also on late-night trash TV to represent the Church against militant pagans. When she finds out the truth about the shadowy secrets of Old Hindwell's spiritual legacy, she puts her own life at risk.
'A Crown of Lights', the third in the 'Merrily Watkins'-series, is a brilliant blend of crime novel, supernatural suspense and murder mystery. The characters and the setting are so utterly real and believable that you seem to see and hear and smell and feel as your read, you are take right into the eerie athmosphere. A book "you live as well as you read", so while you're at it, take a few days off work, unhook the phone and find a baby-sitter! (and when you've finished, look forward to the sequel...).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pagans have bought a country property which includes a decommissioned and ruined church. The parish in which it stands is in the hands of a charismatic priest - Nick Ellis. The Bishop of Hereford is concerned about the parish and what Nick is up to and asks Merrily Watkins - Diocesan Deliverance Consultant - to find out what is going on. Merrily is keen to find out what is going on because after a visit to local hospital she has become interested in the death of a young woman Menna Wheal, who lived in the same parish, and feels there is more to her death than meets the eye.

What follows in an intriguing and fast paced plot which I found difficult to stop reading. The conflict between different religions and belief systems is well portrayed as is the claustrophobic nature of some country areas. There are some interesting characters - Nick Ellis - the priest; Ned Bain - the pagan; Robin and Betty - the unfortunate couple who have bought the church ruins. The book shows clearly how crowd can be controlled and incited to certain behaviour which individually they might abhor. This is human nature at its worst and at its best.

I really enjoyed this book and have read it several times. I like Merrily Watkins as she is a far from perfect individual. She does her best in the most awful situations and sometimes makes mistakes. She is a three dimensional character as is her headstrong daughter, Jane. I would recommend this series to anyone who wants something out of the ordinary which will cause them to question their own beliefs.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harold E. Means Jr. on 19 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Rickman rocks; he delivers with yet another exciting thriller. In the third Merrily Watkins
installment,he really keeps you guessing. You feel
the tension build and you want more. Some of those quaint little towns hold nasty little secrets. By all means, do not miss. It's a ride
you won't soon forget!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Mar. 2001
Format: Hardcover
In A Crown of Lights, Rickman moves the pagan elements that have been meandering through the first two Merrily Watkins novels to thematic center stage by establishing, in the first chapter, a strong and growing tension between Robin and Betty Thorogood, a young wiccan couple, and the "Local People" of Old Hindwell, a town where "border logic" prevails and anyone not born within a few-mile radius is considered "from off." The Thorogoods have purchased an old farmhouse and an adjoining, deconsecrated church, once part of a ring of churches built to contain an ancient evil. The main conflict seems to focus on the couple's plans to reconsecrate the church for the purpose of pre-Christian worship and the ambitions of Father Nick Ellis, the rogue priest who declares a holy war on the Thorogoods. While this conflict is certainly the most obvious one in the novel, it soon gives way to reveal all the other nasty, shadowy secrets of the town that follows its own "border logic" to the detriment not only of those "from off" but of its own people as well. Sent by the acting Bishop of Hereford to guide Father Ellis in his ministerial duties, Merrily discovers that he poses more of a threat to the community of Old Hindwell than do the outed witches, Robin and Betty Thorogood. She soon realizes that her role as Diocesan Deliverance Minister may require her to deliver members of Ellis's own flock from its not-so-good shepherd.
The strength of Rickman's latest novel lies not only in his talent for developing a number of wonderful characters in each story or for sustaining the lively regional dialects, but also in the thematic attention Rickman pays to our foolish-and dangerous-human desire to separate "us" from "them.
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