The Year In Books ~ Merrily Watkins Mysteries

Monday, 4 August 2014


There is nothing I like better than discovering a new author who has thoughtfully written a whole shelf of books for me to get my teeth into. I love a good crime series. I particularly like them when they have a strong sense of place, for example Ann Cleeves' Shetland books (new one out in September) and Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway books which are set in Norfolk. I like my crime fiction to have an interesting detective be they professional police officers or amateur sleuths. I like a recurring cast of characters, I like a bit of humour and I like a clever involving plot. Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins Mysteries promise to fulfill all my requirements.

Merrily Watkins is a vicar, a single mother to a teenage daughter and the diocesan exorcist for Hereford. The stories combine crime with the supernatural. I don't usually have any time for the supernatural but I am interested in seasonal customs and folklore and am finding the mix very enjoyable, the fact that Merrily's stomping ground is not a million miles from mine is an added attraction.

I'm halfway through the first one The Wine of Angels and have the next two ready and waiting to see me through August although at the rate I'm going I may need the next three as well. There are, joy of joys, twelve so far.

I am extremely grateful to Anny of Dreaming in Stitches for putting me onto Merrily. For more information on Phil Rickman's books visit his site here and to see what everyone else is reading in August for The Year In Books go to Laura's blog here.


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38 comments:

  1. Those books have been on my radar for a while, so I'm glad to know they are going down well with you.
    On another topic, I made your salt and pepper squid last night and we all loved it, so many thanks for another dish to add to the repertoire, Sue!

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    1. It's yummy isn't it? Glad you liked it.

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  2. I have just ordered the first 3 from Fleabay.... I love a good who diddy done it as we say in these parts;-)

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  3. I think we shall be saying 'who diddy done it' in these parts now!

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  4. Thanks for the recommendation - I have just reserved them from the library!
    Thanks also for the recipies, the malteser covered chocolate cake (sometimes made with marshmallows for a very funky look) has become a staple, so in my eyes you are up there with Matthew Fort as someone whose recipies are usable. carys

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  5. Oh yay great to know there's a new Ann Cleeves soon!

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  6. I can highly recommend Stephen Booth (brilliant Peak District crime fiction, but read in order to fully follow the character story lines!) and James Oswald (Edinburgh crime fiction, again with recurring characters and their personal stories developed with each book.) I've not heard of Phil Rickman until now but he sounds like my kind of author! Like you, I'm not terribly interested in anything supernatural but am very interested in seasonal and old customs and folklore.

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    1. Thanks Louise, I will look out for those. I did try a series set in the Lake District recently but didn't take to them and have forgotten the author's name.

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  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was desperate for a new mystery series to get my teeth into.

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  8. I have read a lot of books, but none of them crime novels (unless The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster counts). This sounds good though, I might give Phil Rickman a go. Thanks for the tip! xxx

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  9. Thank you Sue. I've enjoyed your not camping once again! Have you ready anything by Elizabeth George? She is writes terrific mysteries (IMHO) set in the UK, primarily London, but other settings as well. The main protagonist is Inspector Thomas Lynley, detective of Scotland Yard, his partner and friends, make recurring appearances in the books. I've enjoyed them immensely, but am not totally up to date with all she's written. Ruthanne

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    1. I haven't read any Elizabeth George but her Inspector Lynley books were televised a while ago and I watched some of those.

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  10. Your description of the type of Crime you like is exactly the same as mine yet when I tried the first Phil Rickman I just couldn't get into it at all. I'm not sure why, I think I found it Too weird. Perhaps I should borrow it again and persevere.

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    1. If you didn't like it you shouldn't feel you need to try again. I didn't get on with Martin Edwards' Lake District series nor Kate Ellis' Wesley Peterson books which both looked like they'd be right up my street. I'm happy to give up on them.

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  11. You might enjoy Christopher Fowlers series about the peculiar crimes unit, featuring Bryant and May, two detectives well past their retirement age. It is set in London and full of references to its history.
    I have never heard of Phil Rickman but will look it up. It is great to be hooked on a series. Have fun reading.

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    1. I do enjoy Bryant and May Christina, great fun.

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  12. That sounds like a good series, I'll keep an eye out for it. It's always nice to find a book set in your area. I've just got one from the library that is set in this town. The author will be coming to the library soon too I think.

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  13. They sound a lot like my cup of tea. I will look for them from the library

    Dear Sue, I cannot believe I have spent my non camping days giving my house a major spring (in summer) cleaning! The plan was to do a little and then follow your example of good food and good reading but instead I got carried away with scrubbing walls and floors and giving my home all the attentions that are difficult to perform when there are family everywhere.

    I very much enjoyed reading your series and will learn from it so that next year if I can again wriggle out of camping, I will not camp in the proper manner. Although I must admit to some strange pleasure in cleaning when no one is around.

    Happy reading

    Cicely

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    1. Sounds like a good use of your time Cicely. I certainly don't sit around doing nothing when they're away, I'd get really bored.

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  14. Nothing better than trying a new book, enjoying it and knowing that there are several more in the series. I too have read the Elly Griffiths books - at least, some of them - passed on by my mother-in-law.
    Not usually my genre (unless you include Agatha Christie) but it's good to broaden your horizons sometimes.
    Sarah.

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  15. I'm looking forward to the new Ann Cleeves book. It's great when you know you've finished one book that there's more to come.

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  16. Great to find someone else addicted to Merrily! I read my first Phil Rickman years and years ago, December, it is called and was hooked. I have all of the books in the series and eagerly await the next one. I LOVE his writing, he can't publish quickly enough for me! And the Elly Griffiths books I have blogged about often - I particularly enjoy reading a book based in the area in which I live. HAve lost the plot re A Year in Books I'm afraid, but I am still reading voraciously. It is a great scheme to introduce each other to new authors.

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    1. Oh I am glad you recommend them Lynne. I notice Elly Griffiths has a new book out in November but not a Ruth Galloway book.

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  17. The series by M R Hall is very good - set in and around Bristol. First one is called The Coroner, I think there are about 5 in the series at the moment

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    1. Thanks Janine, they look good and might appeal to my husband who grew up around Bristol.

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  18. So pleased you're enjoying them! - and so good to see other recommendations too.

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  19. I will have to look for this author's books. I think I'd like them. Have you ever read Tana French's Dublin series? I've enjoyed them all so far. She has a new one coming out in the fall.

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    1. I will look out for those Jennifer.

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  20. I share your love of crime fiction, Sue, and can highly recommend Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti series, set in Venice. The sense of place is all pervasive and the writing excellent. And, I think there are about 20 in the series!

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  21. Thanks for the crime recommendations. Listen to a lot of audible books. My dh listens on long car journeys, stuck in traffic jams, and I use them because I'm waiting for stitches to come out of my eye prior to a cataract op. I like Simon Kernick, Michael Robotham, Jane Casey, Brian McGilloway and Susan Hill.

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  22. Thanks for recommending that! I've just finished it and loved it so now I have to go and buy all the rest.

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    1. Yep, that's what I did!

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  23. Anonymous10:51 am BST

    I will certainly loopk up this writer at the library, I love local customs and a bit of detectivework. I saw you also refer to "Rebecca"I have to ask you too: what is the first name of the second Mrs. Dewinter? Don't know? Thats allright, her name is never mentioned in Rebecca, showing how insignificant she was compared to the first Mrs. Dewinter. When I aks readers of the book this question, they really get upset, because they can not remember, then, when I tell them the name is never mentioned, they can not understand why they did not notice. See, that is the secret of a good book, letting you get in to the story so much, you do not notice such things. Besides that, the first sentence of "Rebecca"is considered the most known and famous entrance sentence of a book ever. Who did read Rebecca and does not remember this: Last night I dreamt I went back to Manderley again" in the Netherlands. Poor mouselike second Mrs. Dewinter, after reading the book many times I am now of the opinion she was married to a murderer and she knows it, deep in her heart, she might inderstand, but she does not approve. She stays true to her husband though, for better, for worse, more then he could to his first wife.DM

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    1. Anonymous7:13 pm GMT

      Actually, the line is “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”. Much more rythmic.

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    2. Indeed. Iambic hexameter I think.

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  24. Anonymous8:09 am BST

    I really enjoy Ellie Griffiths books and agree they have a strong sense of place. Another author writing about East Anglia is Alison Bruce, but her series is set in Cambridge - all Town so far, no Gown even though the first is called Cambridge Blue, and very good

    Sue F

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    1. Thanks for that recommendation Sue, they look good.

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