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The Smile of a Ghost by Phil Rickman

The Smile of a Ghost

by Phil Rickman

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This seventh Merrily Watkins book finds the Diocesan Exorcist dealing with a Diocesan Deliverance Panel which doesn't really believe in what she is doing and seeks to cover it up with psycho-babble. As usual the setting is very important, in this case the town of Ludlow. Various recurring characters have their parts to play as many plot lines converge at the conclusion. Perhaps not the best of the series, but still well worth reading. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
This supernatural mystery is fine when it is about the supernatural and irritating when it is about the mystery. It was good enough to get me to reading the other books in the series. ( )
  Coach_of_Alva | Mar 12, 2011 |
I hesitate to put the moniker "best" on this book because I fully expect that the next book will be just as good, if not better than this one. That is the way this series. It is just so very good! I love the mix of occult, ghost story, real crime and atmosphere that is in each book. The action in this book takes place in the ancient town of Ludlow where history meets present-day in the architecture and in the folk stories that ciruclate. There are many ghosts in Ludlow because of its ancient history, but the ghost that is causing Merrily and Ludlow problems is from the 12 century. She is a young woman who brutally murdered her husband after letting the enemy into the castle keep, and then jumps from the high tower to her death. She walkd the halls of the ancient castle and some of the grounds around it. The plot is complex and detailed. The characters are so real that they seem to breathe off the page. And, in this book, Mr. Rickman exposes the underground current day fascination of young people with death and with some of the teenage suicide sites on the internet. That is how some present-day young people in the book get caught up in the brooding history of Ludlow, and partly explains why there are so many suicide attempts when young people begin falling or jumping, (or are they being pushed from the high towers?) I was spellbound and could not put the book down. ( )
  Romonko | Apr 13, 2009 |
Following the recent publication of the eleventh book in the series I've decided to reread the series.

The first time I read this book I thought it was an OK instalment in the series, now I’ve re-read it, it may be one of the better instalments in the series. A young boy, Andy Mumford’s nephew, dies in a fall from Ludlow Castle. Mumford, newly, and unhappily, retired from the force, thinks there is more to the death than meets the eye and when there are further deaths it seems that he may be right. But is the cause of the deaths supernatural or something even more sinister.

In the meantime Merrily is fighting her own demons, the Diocesan Deliverance Advisory Panel, a section of the Church that wants to modernise the Deliverance Ministry through rational means. Also the appearance of one of Merrily’s teenage icons in Ludlow, who seems to be connected in some way with the deaths.


Not his best, but certainly not his worst and an enjoyable read. This is a complex book with many threads to the plot and there were times when I wondered if there would be a reasonable and plausible ending (and no I don't mean one without supernatural elements), and there was. The novel is set in Ludlow, which, as is the same for the settings of all the other Merrily Watkins books, is a character in its own right and is somewhere I must visit. ( )
  riverwillow | Sep 4, 2008 |
AN ANGLICAN minister who is an exorcist, who smokes and swears, has a sex partner although marriage is never discussed, and whose daughter is a pagan? What is the Church of England coming to? To top it all, she’s a woman! The Reverend Merrily Watkins has to deal with traditionalists and the new order, who regard exorcism as an embarrassing medieval superstition. The changes in the English Church and in society are explored as she investigates a series of suspicious suicides in the historic market town of Ludlow. An intriguing tale. ( )
  adpaton | Nov 27, 2007 |
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All the people who'd told Mumford, It's a new beginning.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330438158, Paperback)

The border town of Ludlow has it all—exquisite medieval streets, a parish church the size of a cathedral, and a weight of history and legend. After a young teenage boy dies, his grandmother becomes convinced she's still seeing her dead grandson in the old town. Merrily Watkins, parish priest is brought in to find out if it is dementia, delusion or something even more disturbing?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The seventh occult mystery featuring Rev. Merrily Watkins. A sad teenage boy comes to the town of Ludlow to die, dramatically, at sunset, in a fall from the ruins. Accident or suicide? When the boy's granny is convinced that she still sees him, Merrily is called in to investigate.… (more)

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