Published December 15th 2014.
(my Phil Rickman collection so far)
A long time ago, I slowly read through the Merrily Watkins's series. I started reading because not because of the exorcist side of things, but because I wanted to read Rickman’s wonderful portrayal of life in an British rural setting, i.e., the way the rural border region is beautifully evoked, the way the village of Ledwardine as an unsentimental yet picturesque wonderful setting is shown, and the way the pagan folklore and Christianity get thrown into the mix. They all contribute for a nice and sometimes not so cozy reading. They’re not exactly churchy. The supernatural element and sharpness of some of the characters and the writing prevents it from being two sweet. All of this wins me over and works against my literary prejudices.
This novella is not our typical Merrily Watkins. It leans on a more traditional horror story, with a strange house thrown into the mix.
This time there was something that just seemed lacking. Perhaps it was just the absence of the other characters and their weird storylines that usually run parallel to Merrily’s main storyline. The characterization is also very snappy, even taking into account that this a novella.
On top of that Gomer, the plant hire, is nowhere to be seen once again. The picture of him in my mind is an as old Herefordshire country man very rough and ready and spraying swear words in his conversation… He always spices up things! For me Gomer is Bart Simpson grown into an old man. I hope the next novel will feature Gomer as the main character. Otherwise, I think I’m going to move on in terms of the Merrily Watkins series.