George V. Reilly

Review: A Crown of Lights

A Crown of Lights
Title: A Crown of Lights
Author: Phil Rickman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Pan
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 566
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 21–25 July, 2008

The Rev. Merrily Watkins is the "de­liv­er­ance con­sul­tan­t" – a euphemism for exorcist – for a diocese on the Welsh border. A Wiccan couple move into a long-de­con­se­crat­ed church in a remote village, and the local fun­da­men­tal­ist-style Anglican priest leads a witchhunt.

The viewpoint characters are all en­ter­tain­ing: level-headed Merrily; her smart-alec teenager, Jane; their old codger neighbor, Gomer; and the two Wiccans, Betty and Robin. The plot is both page-turning and un­hur­ried­ly developed: the first body takes 250 pages to appear. We learn something about con­tem­po­rary village life, Wales, An­gli­can­ism, Wicca, and religious in­tol­er­ance.


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