|Midwinter of the Spirit (1999) [Novel]|
by Phil Rickman
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Series: Reverend Merrily Watkins Mysteries, the
'Exorcism' is a word no longer favoured by the Church of England. Nowadays the preferred term for dealing with cases of possession and paranormal disturbance is 'deliverance ministry'. It sounds less cold, less sinister, more caring. So why shouldn't this be a job for a woman?
When offered the post once styled 'Diocesan Exorcist', the Reverend Merrily Watkins -- single parent, rural perish priest, and unashamed nicotine addict -- doesn't really see how she can refuse. For hasn't she already spoken out against the Church's reluctance to take a stance on psychic matters! Hasn't she also had inexplicable experiences of her own? The young and progressive Bishop is keen to see a woman at the spiritual cutting edge. But the retiring exorcist -- who strongly objects to women entering the priesthood -- not only refuses to be of help to Merrily, but ensures that she's soon exposed to the job at its most terrifying and distasteful.
And things get no easier. As an early winter cuts through to the bones of the old city of Hereford, a body is found in the River Wye, an ancient church is desecrated, and there are suggestions of dark ritual on a hill overlooking the city. Reports of psychic unrest in the Cathedral itself -- where the famous medieval shrine of St. Thomas Cantilupe now lies in fragments -- reflect an undying evil. Alienated from her teenage daughter, Merrily can only turn for understanding to their friend Lol Robinson, a songwriter and former long-term psychiatric patient. Together they confront an unimaginable darkness lying close to the heart of the Anglican Church itself.
Based on long-established 'deliverance' techniques, Midwinter of the Spirit is the first spiritual-procedural thriller: the electrifying story of a professional woman who must walk in dark places where an often-intangible evil thrives uncurbed by the forces of law and order.
Original title: Midwinter of the Spirit
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Detective Story and Detectives
Fiction→ Horror→ Detectives and Horror