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The Magus of Hay (Merrily Watkins Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Phil Rickman
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Ancient history, violent deaths, feuds, intrigues and murder. A most original sleuth --The Times on the Merrily Watkins series A unique talent in cracking form - Crime Fiction Lover on The Merrily Watkins series Strikingly original and consistently intriguing --Guardian on the Merrily Watkins series


The 12th instalment in the Merrily Watkins series

When a man's body is discovered near the picturesque town of Hay-on-Wye, his death appears to be 'unnatural' in every sense. Merrily Watkins, priest, single mother and exorcist, is drafted in to investigate.

A man's body is found below a waterfall. It looks like suicide or an accidental drowning - until DI Frannie Bliss enters the dead man's home. What he finds there has him consulting Merrily Watkins, the Diocese of Hereford's official advisor on the paranormal.

It's nearly forty years since the town of Hay-on-Wye was declared an independent state by its self-styled king. A development seen at the time as a joke. But the pastiche had a serious side. And behind it, unknown to most of the townsfolk, lay a darker design, a hidden history of murder and ritual magic, the relics of which are only now becoming visible.

It's a situation that will take Merrily Watkins - on her own for the first time in years and facing public humiliation over a separate case - to the edge of madness.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1875 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 464 Seiten
  • Verlag: Corvus (7. November 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00ER7ZRJ6
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #87.676 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Der Fluch der Vergangenheit 9. November 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Hay on Wye-eine Stadt, die vom Zeitgeist scheinbar verschont blieb. Ein Ort, in dem Bücher regieren und ein Buchhändler sich zum heimlichen König ausruft. Aber auch ein Ort mit einer dunklen Vergangenheit, die weit in die Gegenwart hinein wirkt, und auch heute noch für Tote sorgt.
Kann Merrily Watkins diese Vergangenheit bannen, oder zerbricht sie daran? Wie weit sind die Bewohner der Stadt von dem politisch-okkulten Extremismus mancher Mitbewohner betroffen? Darf ein Mensch wirklich alle Grenzen überschreiten, wenn sein eigenes Wertesystem dieses zuläßt?
Rickman beantwortet diese Fragen nicht, sondern überläßt dieses in alter Manier dem Leser. Bemerkenswert ist auch, daß der Autor dieses Mal auf die vielen Nebenschauplätze seiner vorherigen Romane verzichtet-es werden "nur" drei Handlungsstränge verfolgt-was der Handlung mehr Kohärenz gibt. Andererseits sind die Implikationen der geschilderten Fälle dermaßen komplex, daß ein komplizierterer Aufbau alles nur verwischt hätte.
Trotzdem ist auch hier mühelos die Handschrift von Phil Rickman zu erkennen, wie er leibt und lebt. Und wenn ich auch Gomer Parry und Lol Robinson etwas vermißt habe (sie kommen nur am Rande vor), verdient auch "The Magus of Hay" fünf Punkte und eine strikte Kaufempfehlung für alle Liebhaber gepflegter britischer Krimis!
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Too cruel. 7. Februar 2015
Von Tilly
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Much more cruel than some of the other books that he has written. A pity because I've enjoyed his stories with Merrily.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Making Hay 15. November 2013
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Phil Rickman has done it yet again. This is a series of novels that seems to be getting better and better with each addition, and The Magus of Hay is absolutely no exception. Set in and around the town of Hay on Wye, this fabulous work brings the town and it's people to life. Merrily Watkins is more alone than she ever seems to have been, with her daughter Jane off on an dig, with her boyfriend, during her gap year. Lol Robinson Merrily's love interest has finally taken his music on tour, and even the Bishop of Hereford is away in London.

All of this is leaving a huge gap for other characters to fill, Frannie Bliss is an obvious one, after his terrible beating he's back at work, and being told by everyone he shouldn't be, but being Frannie he'll tough it out. Gwyn Arthur Jones and Robin and Betty Thorogood from earlier novels are also back, with the Thorogoods hoping to open a new bookshop in Hay.

These returning characters along with Jeeter Kapoor are wonderfully written here, with Betty particularly well observed. Rickman really writes women beautifully.

The novel itself is creepy in parts, horrific in parts, suspenseful, thrilling and always cleverly written. The various plots and subplots are all interesting and are woven seamlessly together as always in Rickman's work. As I've said previously about this author's work, this is a very difficult book to put down. Unfortunately I started reading it at around 8pm, and had to break to go to bed, it was such a wrench, I was reading at 3am and had to get up by 7. This man has a lot to answer for, he had me looking like Frannie Bliss, and I've not had a kicking from watchers of a cockfight.

Congratulations Mr Rickman, this was the best of the series so far, and all the better for removing Merrily from the comfort zone of Lol, Jane and Gomer. I hope they're back soon, but I loved her operating like this.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen 'Your father is waiting' 26. November 2013
Von E. A. Lovitt - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
"The Magus of Hay" is the twelfth Merrily Watkins procedural, and the first in memory where the Vicar of Ledwardine and Deliverance Consultant to the Diocese of Hereford is without her usual supporting cast, i.e. her daughter, Jane (out on an archeological dig) and her lover, Lol (on tour with his band). Gomer Parry, the rumbustious old digger-for-hire who is one of my favorite Rickman creations, has a minor walk-on. Hugh Owen, Merrily's deliverance tutor and spiritual director doesn't have an active part in the bewildering plot, but acts as a sort of voice-over and fills us in on the confusing religious history of the border region between England and Wales.

Do you remember Robin and Betty Thorogood from "A Crown of Lights (Merrily Watkins Mysteries)" (2001)? (I didn't). The author dredges them up to serve as two of the main narrators in "The Magus of Hay." They attempt to open a pagan bookshop in the medieval border town of Hay, which before the age of Amazon and Kindle was a world-renowned center for booksellers, the more eccentric the better. Alas, the book stores are closing right and left which might be the reason Robin and Betty can rent the old building so cheaply. A second reason soon materializes: the building appears to be haunted by its former owner, who specialized in far-into-the-right-wing literature, and who died of a heroin overdose in the living quarters above the shop.

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Frannie Bliss, who has not fully recovered from his encounter with the motorcycle gang in "The Secrets of Pain (Merrily Watkins Mysteries)" (2011) investigates the suspicious drowning death of an old man who was the unwilling guru of Britain's neo-Nazi movement. When the young policewoman who is on the case with Frannie goes missing, he asks Merrily to take a look at the drowning victim's extensive occult library to see if the vicar can uncover any clues regarding the policewoman's disappearance.

I'm a fan of Phil Rickman and I've read all of the books in the Merrily Watkins series, but I had trouble making my way through the criss-crossing plot lines of "The Magus of Hay." There is almost too much information to absorb about the history of Hay and its self-crowned 'King.' Throw in the various pagan, religious, and right-wing cults in the area (all historically present - Rickman is probably the Border's foremost expert on matters occult and otherwise) and I had trouble keeping up with all of the characters and their various woes. Merrily is experiencing an ongoing crisis of faith and is plagued by a woman who wants the vicar to communicate with the dead. Frannie suffered brain stem damage and can't see straight. His boss wants to put him out to pasture. Robin Thorogood had a wall collapse on him in "A Crown of Lights" and is in constant pain.

The good guys are damaged and vulnerable and the evil they are up against seems almost omnipotent. But they persevere and Rickman delivers his usual dark, shivery thrills.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Like meeting old friends 17. November 2013
Von mrs w bunning - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Whenever I pick up one of the Merrily Watkins series, it's like meeting with old fiends...Many thanks, Mr Rickman - a wonderful job! Entertaining, enthralling and just plain creepy. I love it!!!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Another triumph in this long running series--here's hoping for many more 27. Dezember 2013
Von Desert Mambo - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I discovered Phil Rickman quite by accident, coming across one of his older horror novels in the library. I was immediately engaged by his wonderful characterization, and I read all the books related to Avalon at first, even the young adult novels, then finally found this series. I love these books: they are intelligently written, with well-drawn characters that reoccur over the series, and the mysteries are compelling--a wonderful mix of supernatural touches with murder mystery. Over the course of the series, the characters have become like old friends, and I was only reluctant to start this one because I knew I'd then have to wait to hear more about the adventures of Merrily and Company.

So about this book specifically: it picks up rather quickly after the last book, The Secrets of Pain. Frannie Bliss is still getting over his injuries, but is a big presence in this book. Lol is touring, so is not much present in this book, except for an intriguing early phone call in which he mentions the M that I hope will be taken up in a future novel! The lovely Jane, Merrily's wonderful and sometimes enfuriating pagan daughter, is also off for the summer, so Merrily is on her own. Even Gomer Parry, Plant Hire, is only a minimal presence in this book, and I know when I read early reviews and saw this, I thought I'd be disappointed in all those favorite characters missing, but I was not in the least, because the story was compelling and well told (and as always, a fascinating mix of fiction and history!)

Plus, plenty of other characters from other novels appear to keep Merrily busy. There's Athena who, as usual, is a reluctant source of magical information. And the Thorogoods, from an earlier novel, (The Crown of Lights, which was a novel I enjoyed) reappear, and I was delighted to see them. It's something Rickman does exceptionally well--bringing back characters from earlier novels, and I was glad to see these two again. This is tied to my only real quibble with the book, which is the ways in which magical practices are occasionally portrayed: Betty Thorogood seems to regret the tiny bit of magical work she still does, and I found her total rejection of pagan practices a bit too heavyhanded. While Rickman does a good job of writing about the "dark side" of ceremonial magic and in this book chaos magic, and I understand that needs to be done to keep the plot moving along, I do wish it wasn't all tarred with such a brush--as a certain barrister tells us in this novel, the practice of magic is not always sinister. I do think the books as a whole and series as a whole are leaning more that way, thankfully, but every now and then, details grate.

Overall, this is one of my favorite books in the series, even if I did miss some of my favorite characters (and even including my minor quibbles noted). I hope Mr. Rickman continues with the series, as I want to see what happens with Merrily and Lol, and I'm intrigued by Frannie Bliss' unorthodox relationship, and wonder how that will turn out. As you can see, I read these books as much for the lives of the characters as the mysteries, and I think that is a tribute to the author's talent.

For those who have not read the series before, who love character-driven mysteries and have a tolerance for a touch of the supernatural, I highly recommend these books. I think fans of Elizabeth George may like this series, for example, though I think these books are better written with better developed characters. This is a wonderful series, and I'm delighted the author is so prolific!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Intriguing 21. Januar 2014
Von J. Proctor - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
It's hard to keep a series fresh, but Phil Rickman done so in this 12th Merrily Watkins novel. And though I've always recommended people start with the first in the series, this book has a wholeness about it that is so engaging, that it would also be a good introduction to the series. I think you would then feel compelled to read the others.
Rickman has an extraordinary ability to conjure places as he does with the town of Hay in this novel. The places become characters in themselves. He also creates fascinating, compelling characters - rounded real people that you would like to meet. So the plots and dilemmas that they face involve you as more than just stories, because you care about the characters.
The plots in themselves are cracking good stories, with different strands deftly woven, mystery and the paranormal intertwined. There are very few writers I have read who craft their language so well, bringing images and atmosphere vividly to mind.
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