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Ghostly Murders: The Priest's Tale of Mystery and Murder As He Goes on Pilgrimage from London to Canterbury Hardcover – September, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st U.S. ed edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312194188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312194185
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

It's the 14th century, and once again a pilgrim in a group traveling the long, hard road to Canterbury is telling a story to enliven the evenings (A Tapestry of Murders, 1996, etc.). The narrator this time is the Poor Priest, whose tale begins in 1308 when the Knights Templar, a religious order once powerful, now in disgrace, flee their London headquarters, hoping to reach passage to France. They meet a dreadful end in the woods and marshes of Kent, near Scawsby, a rumored treasure disappearing with them. Seventy years later, brother priests Philip and Edmund Trumpington are assigned to Scawsby's St. Oswald's Church, bringing with them old friend and master mason Stephen Merkle. Their plan is to build another church nearby, moving more recent burials to a new graveyard. But Philip soon discovers the reason for the short stays of previous pastors: the church and its environs are haunted big-timewith visions, voices, apparitions, and deaths, all seemingly to do with the long-gone Templars and buried riches. Philip is driven to make his own hard-won discoveries, involving an unexpected treasure, a trip to London, and a surprising source of treachery. One of the author's neat twists ends this fourth in the series, but confusion reigns in a morass of quirky characters, digging forays, voices from the dead, eerie confrontations, and endless bloody killings. Unlikely to appeal to readers not enthralled with ghost stories or the history of the period. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
A great "escape" or vacation read.
Andrew Freborg
In this story, we have the story provided by the Poor Priest and his brother the Ploughman.
S. Schwartz
One of the greatest Author for historical mysteries.
John W Spehar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you're not a fan of the Canterbury Tales, it doesn't matter! The pilgrims on their way from London to Canterbury are brought vividly to life in this fourth book of the series by P.C. Doherty. I COULD NOT put it down! It is a must-read for any ghost-story connoisseur. The pilgrims are passing a deserted English village called Scawsbury on the wild marshes of Kent. This particular tale, the priests' tale, involves the village in its heydey before the plague. It is a tale involving murder, vengeful ghosts, curses and a treasure. A warning: this is most definately not a book for someone who cannot handle ghost stories! If you don't fit that bill (and I most certainly do not), I heartily recommend this book for a night you are home alone and in search of a hair-raising good read! Enjoy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on May 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's a pilgrimage you won't want to miss! P.C. Doherty adds one more pilgrim's tale in "Ghostly Murders" to the three previously published and in this series the author definitely makes the literary journey worthwhile. Doherty's entourage is the same 31 that Geoffrey Chaucer assembled in Southwark in London in "The Canterbury Tales" who are on their pilgrimage to pay respects to the martyred St. Thomas a Becket at his shrine in Canterbury in 1389. From one's own British literature knowledge, the reader knows that each member is required to tell four tales, two going and two returning. In this series of mysteries, Doherty portrays the travelers much as Chaucer originally did and it is amusing reading to discover how he weaves Chaucer into this modern day re-telling. Of course, Chaucer died before all 124 tales could be "told," and so perhaps this is Doherty's way of completing the series. Doherty does not write in rhyming couplets and his narrative prose moves much more quickly; after all, Chaucer set out to tell his tales and each was required to possess a moral. Doherty doesn't seem quite so obsessed. A fifth tale by Doherty, however, has not appeared. In "Ghostly Murders" ("The Poor Priest's tale of mystery and murder as he goes on pilgrimage from London to Canterbury"), the author features Father Philip, who, along with his brother Edmund, has just been assigned his first parish in the village of Scawsby in Kent. That village has held a long, and evil, mystery dealing with the Knights Templars, a holy relic, rumors of lost treasure, evil incarnate, and, of course, a murder or two.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kenri A. Mugleston on August 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you like murder mysteries as well as historical fiction, then you are in for a treat. Mr. Doherty knows the medieval period and uses it to good advantage. This is a takeoff of Chaucer's Canterbury tales where all the members of the party tell a story. This is the Story told by the Priest. It is a tale of treachery, greed and ghosts. This novel was wonderfully done and quite enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Freborg on June 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A totally absorbing "atmosphere" book. I literally couldn't put it down --- Its got everything a history, mystery and horror fan could want...Ghosts of Templar Knights, a forbidden bog, a town with a terrible secret, and a curious new clergyman trying to piece it all together in 14th century England. A great "escape" or vacation read.
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Format: Hardcover
A group of pilgrims is travelling from London to the holy shrine at Canterbury. As they stop to spend each night along the way, a different member of the group takes a turn telling a tale to pass the evening. This is the Poor Priest's Tale, and what a great ghost story it is! The group has stopped to spend the night in the ruin of a church in an abandoned village, and, of course, the Priest's tale is set in a similar church.

The ghost story takes place in the English town of Scawsby, which is located near the southeastern coast of England. In the year 1308, a band of warrior knights of the Templar order mysteriously disappeared on the moors near Scawsby, and it's rumored that the knights were transaporting a fabulous treasure. The main character in the ghost story is a priest named Phillip, who is assigned to the church in Scawsby, only to learn that the last four priests who held that position before him all went mad. In fact, his immediate predessor hung himself from a tree. Father Phillip finds that there are haunting eyes painted all over the church, and he and his brother (a fellow priest) hear mysterious voices chanting "We are watching you, we are always watching you." Phillip tries to get to the bottom of the mystery, so the people of Scawsby can be freed from the ghostly haunting.

Authoer Doherty did a great job with the medieval setting. There were a few unfamiliar words that came straing out of Medieval usage, which added to the period charm of the story. This was one of the best ghost stories I've read in a long time!
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