The Fabric of Sin (Merrily Watkins Mysteries)
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Called in secretly to investigate an allegedly haunted house with royal connections, Merrily Watkins, deliverance consultant for the Diocese of Hereford, is exposed to a real and tangible evil. A hidden valley on the border of England and Wales preserves a longtime feud between two border families as well as an ancient Templar church with a secret that may be linked to a famous ghost story. On her own and under pressure with the nights drawing in, the hesitant Merrily has never been less sure of her ground. Meanwhile, Merrily’s closest friend, songwriter Lol Robinson, is drawn into the history of his biggest musical influence, the tragic Nick Drake, and finds himself troubled by Drake’s eerie autumnal song "The Time of No Reply."
back into Celtic times?’ ‘Mixture of the two. Whatever was here, they certainly enhanced it. It’s an unstable area, too. Has a major geological fault line. Climatic anomalies are often noted. We used to talk about gusts of wind from The White Rocks, which are supposed to be a Celtic burial ground. And then, of course, there’s M. R. James.’ ‘We must …’ Jane’s hands tightened on the wheel. ‘… have offended someone or something at Garway … ’ ‘My God, Jane, for a child you’re remarkably well
Like they’d been contaminated? That doesn’t sound convincing, does it?’ ‘Well, you can see that it might be, from her point of view. But no need for urgency, was there?’ Merrily looked back towards the Volvo. ‘Look,’ Jane said, ‘if I had to take a guess …’ ‘Go on.’ ‘The Master House. I’d told her … I told her what happened to you. In the inglenook?’ ‘When?’ ‘Before we left. I’m sorry, I thought you’d probably told her yourself.’ ‘And how did she react?’ ‘She was interested in the
that, boss?’ ‘You bugger off out of it just as fast as your cute little legs will carry you.’ ‘What about the woman? Fuchsia. Aftercare?’ ‘Oh, aye.’ There was a lengthy, meditative silence. She imagined him staring down at his peeling slippers, their rubber soles smoking on the edge of the hearth. ‘You do need to separate it,’ he said eventually. ‘If there’s nowt particularly to support it at the house, you most likely are looking at a different problem. You said she was orphaned?’
course, while I was in Wales, something else happened. The police carried out their famous dawn raid on the Master House, removing quantities of drugs … and the future Lord Stourport.’ ‘Just Lord Stourport? He carried the can?’ ‘Couple of others, I think. Nonentities. There were said to be some more people involved in the activities, but not living in. They may have got away minutes before the police broke the door down. A dawn raid tends to be less effective when its targets are habitually not
darkness pulsed and jittered. Someone was fumbling about in there. Merrily was feeling around for a light switch when something fell over with a bong, and then a sharp, tight shattering of glass jerked her back into the doorway. Halfway down the wall, her hand found the metal nipple of the switch, and she flipped it down. ‘Come any closer …’ a voice high and cracked ‘… and I shall take out your—’ The light flickered on, a frosted bowl, flat to the ceiling, exposing a woman crouching in a