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The Fabric of Sin (Merrily Watkins, #9)
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The Fabric of Sin (Merrily Watkins #9)

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  914 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
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 old border families as well as an ancient Templar church with a secret that may be linked to ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Quercus (first published 2007)
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Frank Roberts
Feb 08, 2011 Frank Roberts rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
It is rare that I don't finish a book, but this one I am not finishing. I just don't care what happens, though I am mildly curious as to what the hell is going on. But the cost of slogging through the disjointed style is too high, and I suspect the payout will not be worth it anyway.
It's a mystery to me why Phil Rickman remains largely unknown in America, seeing as how he's a very talented writer who combines the mystery, paranormal, and historical fiction genres like nobody else. His Merrily Watkins series, set in present day England, features a female vicar charged with being the "deliverance" (read "exorcism") minister in her parish and its environs. Merrily has a daughter, a young teen in the earlier novels and a young woman in the latest, and a significant other, forme ...more
Jamie Collins
Sep 18, 2013 Jamie Collins rated it really liked it
I love this ghostly mystery series, despite the fact that I am a) not particularly religious, b) very skeptical of “alternative” medicine, and c) frankly disbelieving of ghosts and paranormal phenomena. One gets the feeling that the author is open minded about all these things, and yet there’s always plausible deniability about the actual events in the books. In the end, it’s always a person who has performed any acts of violence; there’s just a great deal of speculation over circumstances and m ...more
Dec 27, 2007 Christia rated it really liked it
Anglican priest and "Deliverance Consultant" Rev. Merrily Watkins is called to investigate what might be a psychic disturbance in the Master House of an estate recently purchased by the Duchy after one of the contractors has a strange experience while working inside the house and later turns up dead.

Rickman does it again. A very satisfying read and a somewhat intricate plot, this time involving the Knights Templar and a bit of Welsh history. I am continually amazed at this author's creativity a
Apr 06, 2015 Dorothy rated it really liked it
I really liked this book despite its flaws. The characters of Merrily and her daughter Jane drew me in and I will be seeking out more books in the series.

Having said that, I did feel the book went on a bit too long, and the final chapter wasn't nearly as clear as it should have been. If you are going to do a "let's explain everything" type wrap-up, then at least make sure it's understandable!

The scene where the villain got his come-uppance was especially annoying - yes I know it was dark and M
Dec 16, 2007 Bloomeenee rated it it was ok
Shelves: readin2007
Why is he writing the entire narrative like it's Jane Watkins dialogue? this is very frustrating.

edit... hmmm,finished that. Blah. and Blah.
There was a point in the plot where I thought Merrily was going to turn out to be pregnant. But no, just more blah, with some blah on top.

Not good enough to like, not cringe-making enough to rant about.
Jan 19, 2008 Robyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, phil_rickman
As a Phil Rickman lover, I was not disappointed with this book. It is a wonderful mixtureof the spiritual and the mysterious. The closer I got to the end, the harder it was to put down and now I am really diappointed that it is finished. I guess I will just have to go and buy another one.
Leanne Hunt
Jan 18, 2017 Leanne Hunt rated it it was amazing
Of all the Merrily Watkins novels I have read, I think this was the most disturbing. The story explores some of the less savoury aspects of Free Masonry; namely, its suspected links with the order of the Knights Templar which upheld a tradition of magic and bloodletting. Many clergy are Free Masons, so the book made me ponder the all-male, secret qualities of the society as well as the matter of oaths taken to protect others in the group even when Christian leadership would oblige a person to sp ...more
Cathy Savage
I normally like British mysteries but this I found very difficult to read and the story a challenge to follow. Perhaps that is due to my lack of knowledge about the Templars and British vernacular. At any rate, it was a bit of a slog for me to get through. Some of the "clues" were rather obscure and it was difficult to see how Merrily came up with the answers she did. Although it was an OK read I doubt that I will be reading anything else by this author at this point. I may revisit this decision ...more
Sep 28, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it
A solid pick from Phil Rickman. It's always a pleasure to hang out with Merrily Watkins, her daughter Jane, her musical squeeze Lol and various and sundry bishops, clergy and parishioners. Nobody writes dialogue and internal monologue like Rickman. And--contrary to what other readers evidently think--I find Jane remarkably well-drawn, and completely believable. Maybe it's 30 years in the secondary classroom, but I've had many Janes over the years: precocious to the max, a little too self-confide ...more
May 16, 2013 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
The premise of the Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman certainly sounds original:

The confident single-mum to strong-minded teenager Jane leads a religious life (in contrast to her daughter’s determinedly pagan beliefs) as a vicar of her own parish in Herefordshire, and is also the country’s first female appointed Deliverance Minister (a sort of church-condoned exorcist of bad spirits, if you can believe it). Alongside this spiritualism she takes to amateur sleuthing (why not?), investigating
Jan 25, 2008 Nikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I've always thought of Masons as a fairly innocuous (not to say slightly silly) group. My grandfather and some of my uncles were Masons, and, with their wives, members of the Order of the Eastern Star as well. It does not appear to have brought them any worldly success or advantage -- it was a social outlet with no alcohol. The lodges, as with other fraternal orders, seem to be consolidating or dying out. No menace to anyone.

Phil Rickman's THE FABRIC OF SIN is not the only British mystery I've r
SC Skillman
Apr 04, 2016 SC Skillman rated it it was amazing
I think I enjoyed this book even more than the previous books in the Merrily Watkins series, because in this story Rickman really concentrates on Merrily herself, her relationships with Lol and Jane, and the challenges he sets her as a character. Merrily is strong and central here: vulnerable, with her doubts, yet tough and focussed when questioning evasive people. More than ever before I feel her tremendous depth as a character, her believability, her humanity and her goodness. We as readers ca ...more
Kerry Hennigan
The first time I read The Fabric of Sin I found it confusing. This time I was able to follow it and subsequently enjoy it much more. But it remains a complex (and still confusing) mix of murder, superstition and mystery. With ingredients of a local haunting that echoes a famous ghost story, an old house connected to the Knights Templar, and connections to modern-day Freemasonry, it's a pretty intoxicating mix.

Merrily Watkins is called in at the start of events, to investigate a haunting. Pretty
Jun 21, 2013 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Merrily Watkins, Deliverance Consultant for the Diocese of Hereford, is asked to look into an apparently ghostly happening in a very old house which appears to have Templar connections. The house has just been purchased by the Duchy of Cornwall and everything is being treated as very important and ‘need to know’ by Merrily’s boss, the Bishop. Before long the pace is hotting up and an apparent murder and suicide brings the police into the equation.

This is an intriguing story with many ramificatio
Oct 30, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The Fabric of Sin finds Merrily called to the village of Garway to investigate a building called the Master House. A plasterer, Felix, who was renovating the Master House now refuses to enter it after his partner Fuchsia, has a terrifying experience and is convinced the house is possessed by evil.

The Master House is now owned by the Prince of Wales through his Duchy of Cornwall and there is pressure on Merrily to keep this light and quiet so that no embarrassing headlines emerge. Merrily's inves
Feb 17, 2012 Penny rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-crime
This is number 9 in the Merrily Watkins series following a female English country vicar who also happens to be the person involved in 'deliverance' or exorcism/supernatural stuff in her parish.

In this one Merrily gets caught up in a supernatural possible event in an old house that has links to the Knights Templar and their rituals. Murders follow and sinister parties from 30 years ago come to light that also involved calling up the spirits and other murders.

As usual there are plenty of red herr
This latest installment of the Merrily Watkins series definitely entertained me more than the eighth book, The Remains of an Altar. Actually, I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I expected to - books that use the Knights of the Templar and the Freemasons to move plots forward are not my preferred sub-genre of thriller, but this was more plausible than most. Rickman incorporated some historical elements here that tied in nicely with the story, and fit very well in the series overall. Unfortunately ...more
Apr 22, 2011 Melaszka rated it it was amazing
Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins novels - about a female Anglican exorcist who investigates ghosts and ends up solving human murders i.e. kind of Scooby Doo for grown-ups - are always a good read. Quirky, steeped in detailed research about all manner of interesting historical/mythological/mystical subjects, totally original and absolutely unputdownable. A bit like Dan Brown, only ten million times better.

I've read this one twice now and found it totally gripping both times. Merrily is asked to min
Aug 07, 2014 Cecily rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-archive

It used to bother me that I couldn't follow the various interwoven plots, background info and character relationships between minor characters in this series. But now - a bit like accepting that I never fully get the intricacies of plots in the Matthew Bartholomew medieval series - there is a certain freedom and enjoyment in not bothering too much about working out what is going on and just enjoying the atmosphere and church politics. Something was going on with Templars and Freemasons and Clare
May 13, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
Seems all thriller/mystery/historical-romance writers are obliged to do a Knights-Templar book these days, ever since the Duh Vinci Code. But this is Phil Rickman, who can, as one blurber says on the back cover, "write the socks off Dan Brown." What an understatement! This is the latest installment (for me anyway) in the Merrily Watkins (feminist priest and diocesan exorcist) series, and maybe the best yet.
Cole Davis
Aug 16, 2012 Cole Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending seemed to be missing, with the wind blowing a door open as the final sentence. That wasn't quite right. Prince Charles is now my hero; I had no idea he was so cool. Poor Eirion; Jane is breaking his heart. It's hard to know if Rickman's portrayal of the Templars and Masons are factual or mere Christian propaganda. I really don't like Jane's laisez faire attitude of being jail-bait and wanting to destroy a marriage. The history of the fight for Welsh independence is very educating.
Oct 12, 2009 Kay rated it really liked it
Once more we have another excellent story from Mr. Rickman which, although about Knights Templar and Masons, does not come across as a piggyback on the Dan Brown trend. His ideas are unique and still involve the local history of places, in this case Garway, who visited them and the people involved in the present and the history. I would not say its my favourite Rickman, but I always learn a lot from him!
Sean O'Reilly
Nov 09, 2013 Sean O'Reilly rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
In many ways this is very similar to the rest of the Merrily Watkins series, not that this is any way a bad thing. The main characters and the relationships between them continue to develop as the series progresses. The mystery at the heart of this book unfolds very plausibly without it being too obvious what is coming. I will definitely be continuing to read the Merrily Watkins series and already have two more of them waiting for me on my Kindle app.
Jessica Andersen
I do love the Merrily Watkins series. This book was no exception, there are always a lot of twists and turns. This one had a plot revolving around the Knights Templar. There were also some discussions of Prince Charles that had me googling. As usual, it seemed like Merrily was in over her head, but she always seems to manage in the end.

Things are progressing with Merrily's daughter Jane and her relationship with Lol Robinson.

I love this series and will be reading the next one soon!
Mar 03, 2016 Teatime rated it it was amazing
The best one of the series so far.... To me, this one is perfect. The plotting, the pacing, the writing (I love Phil Rickman's writing), the twists and nuances--all worked extremely well.
And I'm going to revisit M. R. James's ghost stories (although I found them too terrifying to read when I tried many years ago).
Aug 11, 2011 Scatteredmist rated it did not like it
Book was all over the place , couldn't follow the story , not entirely sure if the Historical information was made up or exact (I live in Hereford!) soon put the book down halfway through and gave up the ghost! Very boring
Angela Davies
Aug 15, 2013 Angela Davies rated it really liked it
Like all the books in the series, this book was a bit confusing but full of information. Always makes you wonder which bits are true and which fiction. A good read and looking forward to book 10.
Oct 07, 2011 Lynne rated it it was amazing
Interesting to see the range of views on this book. I am a real fan of the Merrily Watkins books and loved this one very much. I just wish I could find a church with a priest like her.
May 07, 2012 Tracey added it
Enjoyed this odd book - a good yarn that takes place in a spooky, creepy, very beautiful part of England and Wales. A good summer read.
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aka Will Kingdom, Thom Madley.

Phil Rickman, born in Lancashire, has won awards for his TV and radio journalism. After five acclaimed novels, he introduced the fascinating Merrily Watkins series with The Wine of Angels. He is married and lives on the Welsh Border.
More about Phil Rickman...

Other Books in the Series

Merrily Watkins (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins, #1)
  • Midwinter of the Spirit (Merrily Watkins, #2)
  • A Crown of Lights (Merrily Watkins, #3)
  • The Cure of Souls (Merrily Watkins, #4)
  • The Lamp of the Wicked (Merrily Watkins, #5)
  • The Prayer of the Night Shepherd (Merrily Watkins, #6)
  • The Smile of a Ghost (Merrily Watkins, #7)
  • The Remains of an Altar (Merrily Watkins, #8)
  • To Dream of the Dead (Merrily Watkins, #10)
  • The Secrets of Pain (Merrily Watkins, #11)

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