I am still stunned by this book. I have read the Merrily series, in order and have enjoyed them all, but this roller-coaster takes the prize. The final knock out punch came at the end where the two detectives discuss the final tying of the knots of the case. I suppose there were hints in the earlier chapters as to what was to come, but I had to read one descriptive paragraph at least twice to make sure I hadn't misunderstood it. As for another major character, well I sometimes found myself thinking that Rickman dislikes Jane Watkins - in this book he raises her up to the heights, thrashes her down, raises her up again, only to punish her once more. It is no wonder the poor girl wants to leave Ledwardine. I do wish Rickman would let us into a little bit more of the 'private' moments of Merrily and Lol and also those of Jane and Eirion. A little bit more description, without verging on the salacious, would be good, I think. And for God's sake, get Merrily and Lol either married or living together and preferably the former! Oh, and if I haven't made it clear, this is a really, really GOOD read!