From Publishers Weekly
Past and present collide with fatal results in British author Rickman's unsettling 10th mystery to feature parish priest Merrily Watkins (after 2008's The Fabric of Sin
). A few days before Christmas, a body with a mutilated face turns up in a ruined monastery in the Herefordshire village of Ledwardine near the Welsh border. Also casting a pall over the holiday season are the threat of a flood and a contentious debate at a town meeting about whether to build a highway through a beloved meadow. Meanwhile, the unearthing of the ancient Dinedor Serpent, a prehistoric monument, leads Merrily's aspiring archeologist daughter, Jane, into dangerous territory. A newcomer to the village, an outspoken atheist despised by fundamentalists, adds fuel to a volatile mix. Amid the mayhem, Rickman skillfully weaves together the assorted subplots. Credible characters—some down-to-earth, others lunatic—and absorbing archeological lore are a plus. (Aug.)
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"Credible characters . . . and absorbing archeological lore are a plus." Publishers Weekly
"Merrily is a most original sleuth and an interesting, sparky woman of emotional and spiritual depth. Rickman is an excellent writer, terrific on atmosphere . . . The best so far." The Times