The Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins, #1) - Phil Rickman

Why did I read (listen to) it?

 

I had this on my iTunes in audio format for ages, so I can't actually remember why I chose it, but I'm glad I did.

 

What's it about? Merrily Watkins arrives in a Hereford Village with her teenage daughter, Jane. Merrily is the priest-in-charge and soon finds herself courting controversy, while struggling to make sense of her dreams. Jane, too, finds herself in a sticky situation. When they finally move into the vicarage, events seem like they will overtake them.

 

What did I like? The dramatic opening during a wassailing was interesting, but then the book started again with the mundane matters of moving from the pub to the vicarage, and providing an introduction to the characters introduced in the first scene. Bit of a jolt, but then matters build, and build to the point I had to listen to the last three hours without interruption - I wanted to get to the climax.

 

I liked, too, the somewhat supernatural element interwoven into a mystery. I am a fan of crime fiction and this added a new, and interesting element. The story was well told: dramatic opening, a quick come down, and then an enthralling ride to the finish. The characters seemed stereotypical village types - at first - but as the story continued, it became clear that there was much going on underneath; some of which is never fully explored, much as happens in real life wherein you know there is more, but you're also very aware you will never fully understand. The author really shows the incongruous nature of the modern village - old traditions meets chattering classes incomers.The audio edition I listened to from Audible was clear, and without fault.

 

What didn't I like? I have to admit, as much as the narration was good, and clear, the character voicing was such that I was not always sure which character was speaking. There was attempt at accents, but I was not convinced. 

 

Once or twice there were jumps in the time line of the story that I felt left too big a gap, and for this reason I have removed a star.

 

Would I recommend it? Actually I would, but I'm not entirely sure to whom. That said, I will be reading the next book in the series to see how this unique, crime fiction develops.