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All of a Winter's Night

(Merrily Watkins #14)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,052 ratings  ·  95 reviews
It begins in the fog, with a bleak village funeral. In the early hours of the following morning, Merrily Watkins and her daughter Jane are made aware that Aidan Lloyd, son of a wealthy farmer, will not be resting in peace. A rural tradition is displaying its sinister side as an old feud reignites. It's already a fraught time for Merrily, her future threatened by a bishop c ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published February 1st 2018 by Corvus (first published January 5th 2017)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  1,052 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Start your review of All of a Winter's Night (Merrily Watkins, #14)
This is the latest in one of my favourite series featuring deliverance vicar, Merrily Watkins. Rickman excels in writing atmospheric, complex and multilayered stories shot through with a strong element of the supernatural. It is always a pleasure to be reaquainted by what, by now, are dear and familiar characters like Lol, Gomer, Huw and Sophie in Lewardine and Hereford. Merrily is concerned about the perfunctory funeral for Aidan Lloyd, a local farmer, who died in a traffic accident. Her concer ...more
David Harris
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even if I wasn't married to a Church of England vicar and living in a country village, I'd still be obsessively keen on these adventures of Merrily Watkins, diocesan deliverance advisor and keeper of secrets. As I am, I love sifting over the ecclesiastical politics and spotting what's plausible and what's less so (it's fiction - of course it embroiders in places!)

I also love the writing, of course, and in this latest instalment, Rickman is on cracking form, with Gomer Parry back (fans will rejoi
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Another thoroughly enjoyable Merrily Watkins novel by Phil Rickman. He is so effective at creating a sense of time and place in his novels. One can almost feel the damp cold of the fog and the icy bite of the Herefordshire wind: “ The sense of border was pervasive here, hard country stalking soft under the darkening frown of the Black Mountains”. In this story all the favourites are back: Merrily, Lol, Jane, Gomer, Sophie and Frannie Bliss. Happy to see Merrily and Lol actually spending more tim ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new Merrily Watkins is always something to look forward to and I definitely wasn't disappointed with this one. Merrily herself is threatened by the new broom of the new bishop of Hereford who believes that deliverance doesn't have any place in the modern Church of England. DI Frannie Bliss is worried that organised crime has come to the country when a Polish immigrant is shot dead at his garage.

The death of Aidan Lloyd - a famer's son in Ledwardine - is followed by what Merrily regards as an
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The latest “adventure” of Merrily Watkins does not disappoint as Phil Rickman again skilfully weaves folklore, religion, and police work together to produce a crime thriller with an otherworldly element that is left as nebulous as these things often are in real life, although it ends with us knowing the who, how and why of the crime. Alongside the self-contained mystery plot of the book we get the continual unspooling of the lives of Merrily, Jane, Lol, Frannie, Ann and Eirion, all of whom have ...more
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Merrily's back and there are Morris dancers. What is not to like!? ...more
Jamie Collins
I saved this for Halloween. I really love this spooky, atmospheric series, and this one starts out with a nicely creepy scene with mysterious intruders at night in the graveyard behind the vicarage.

I lost interest in the actual mystery about halfway through, however, and I’m beginning to tire of yet more plots to get rid of Merrily and Deliverance. I was beginning to be rather disappointed in the book, but towards the end there were some satisfying developments with the characters which redeemed
Jo Hurst
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phil Rickman at his best. This is an excellent series and this latest instalment will remain a favourite in the series despite its slightly disappointing ending. Aiden Lloyd’s funeral was a cold unhappy affair, and without much info from the family Merrily feels she has given short shrift, something as a deliverance consultant she should never do. Following a strange and disturbing night in the churchyard Merrily discovers there was more to Aiden Lloyd then she first thought and soon his death l ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read many of the Merrily Watkins books and enjoyed them but this is perhaps the best from the strength of the writing and the unusual plot. Unusual because I have danced the morris for decades and this was a fascinating spin on what it means. The postscript explains the author’s sources which are not, sad to say, up to date as the mystical rationale for the morris dance that this plot hinges on has been pretty well debunked by modern scholars ... but so what, it makes the story work. Exce ...more
Another really good read in the atmospheric & spooky Merrily Watkins series. I'm a sucker for stories that weave folk lore, customs & legends into them - with the Green Man being especially a favourite of mine - & this instalment sees the appearance of some Morris men....but these aren't the red-cheeked cheery dancers you'd normally see on the village green, oh no. These appear to be quite sinister, with secrets hidden within their ancient dances - but from this series I'd expect nothing less! ; ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is always a delight to return to the world of Merrily Watkins. I have been a fan of this series from the beginning and have enjoyed every one.

Merrily, the diocese Deliverance minister (formerly called an exorcist) is facing problems from the current Bishop who seems bent on marginalising her. One winter's night she is awoken by Jane, her daughter, who hears someone in the churchyard. Their investigation is cut short when Jane sprains her ankle. It seems the noise has come from around the grav
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another really good read in this series. Merrily is under pressure from the powers that be who may want her out of the Deliverance job.
Jane, bless her, really doesn't know what she wants. She's confused about a lot of things.
Frannie Bliss and Annie Howe are still keeping their relationship secret and are still having problems with Annie's corrupt father.
To all this add murder and Morris dancing, a certain someone getting their comeuppance and the return of Eirion and you have a darn good story.
Marcus Wilson
The final (to date) in the Merrily Watkins series, and in my opinion the best one. Phil Rickman is on top form here, crafring a story from the menace that lies behind English folk customs and legends, featuring morris men and the green man. It is a fantastic story with some great twists along the way.
Tom Waters
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's Dance

I live in Broadstairs each year a Folk Festival is held next year I will be watching the Morris Dancers a lot more than I have before after reading th I wonderful book I have read all in this series and they all rate five sterss
Bryan Wigmore
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Above-average addition to the series, with some interesting stuff about border morris and the green man symbol, and all tied neatly up at the end. Downsides: the villain was pretty invisible until everyone got suspicious of him at the same time for no reason I could see (though I might have missed something), and a long-term character was offed in a way that seemed rather perfunctory, though maybe that was just because it came too late for the real consequences to be played out in this book, and ...more
Stephen Hayes
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I suppose one could sum it up by saying this this book is to morris dancing what The nine tailors by Dorothy Sayers is to church bell ringing.

I looked at this book very carefully before buying it, to make sure that it was not Midwinter of the spirit sneakily published under a different title, since they have republished old Phil Rickman books under new titles before, as a trap for the unwary.

It turned out, however, that I had not read this one before.

Phil Rickman's early books were of the fan
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiled by some silly punctuation errors and the spelling of names changing
Andrea Collins
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent as usual :) Like meeting old friends again.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have enjoyed Phil Rickman's books for a long time. All of a Winter's Night is not my fav. He does tend to jump from one story to the next..but always with some tie in you can understand. This just bounced back and forth and was hard to keep up with.
Merrily Watkins is a vicar in Ledwardine who is also in the deliverance ministry (exorcist). Her daughter Jane is between faith and pagan.
A young man is killed, the funeral pitiful and doesn't "sit" well with Merrily Watkins, then come the morris d
Sherry Mackay
To be honest I did not finish this book. It was like wading through treacle. I guess it does not help coming in at book 14 of the series! I did not have a clue what was going on. I didn't know who anyone was or what anyone did or what the hell was happening. Cryptic to the max. And a fair few unfinished sentences which didn't help me in my quest to know what this was about. Start at book 1 perhaps if you are the least bit interested but I am not:) ...more
Rachel Phillips
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In typical style of the Merrily Watkins series - a great build up during the story so you cannot wait to get to the end and read the outcome. The character development is very good throughout the series. Will always pick up and read this again.
Alysa Blackwood
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous as usual, all my favourite genres rolled into one. This, the 14th book in the Merrily Watkins series didn't disappoint. I look forward to book 15. ...more
Veronica-Lynn Pit Bull
All of a Winter’s Night is another atmospheric installment in the Merrily Watkins series. The story telling is subtle and the horror when it comes is oftentimes more inferred than overt. I must admit that sometimes it goes over my head. I’m blaming it on being American. Case and point – Gomer and Lol in the churchyard – noticing something may be amiss and setting it to rights. Made perfect sense to me. Wasn’t batting an eye. And then suddenly people are talking about crimes and spiritual atrocit ...more
Bill Booker
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have finished reading All of a Winter’s Night! It's a real cracker, thoroughly enjoyed it, deeply dark, full of great scenes and atmosphere, drama and that PR magic (as ever). It makes a great contrast to Friends of the Dusk, very different in 'feel' and the characters' progressions are also wonderfully, hate to use the word but it fits, satisfying. The action is vigorous, the quieter scenes are very like those of Wine of Angels and Midwinter of the Spirit, excellent! Great Kilpeck finale but ...more
Mike Clarke
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
“And I’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!” I like the Merrily Watkins series for the same reason I liked Scooby Doo - Where Are You? as a small child: you know what you’re getting and that it’ll be exciting. That it was largely the same story week after week (ghost turns out to be property developer/tin miner/rival amusement park owner dressing up to scare away customers or buyers and drive down the price of something so he can make a killing) was neither here ...more
Russell J. Sanders
I am a Phil Rickman fiend! I eagerly await his newest books, especially the Merrily Watkins series. Then, when the book arrives, I put it in my “to read” stack, waiting for the perfect time to savor it. I sometimes delay my pleasure for months because I want to be in the right mood and frame of mind to devour it. His last book disappointed me in that he did not include many of the familiar characters, having them away from the tiny village of Ledwardine for whatever reason. This book, All of a W ...more
One of my favorite series. In each entry, Rickman blends the supernatural with the rational, the traditional with the encroaching modern world, the mysterious with the realistic. I love his characters, particularly the Anglican priest, Merrily, her pagan daughter Jane, and Merrily's boyfriend, Lol. Following them through fourteen novels(plus a novella, The House of Susan Lulham) has made them feel like family. The journey has also taught me a lot about English traditions and superstitions dating ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, supernatural
I think this is one of the best Merrily Watkins yet.

The story begins with Jane and Merrily being awakened at night by strange and sinister goings-on in the graveyard next to the vicarage. The grave in question belongs to a young man buried that day - Aidan Lloyd, a farmer's son killed in a road accident by his farm gate.

As Merrily and Jane search for answers to what they've seen it leads them to a bitter feud between two farming families, the Lloyds and Darvills with two very different views on
Jim Bowen
One of the fictional characters I have always enjoyed is Merrily Watkins, who acts as diocesan exorcist in the area around Hereford England, a boarder area where the contrast between the clinical English and the more emotional and mystical Welsh is explored in murder mysteries.

In this book the son of a local farmer is killed (which might have something to do with a Hatfield vs. McCoy thing going on), local thieves are roaming the countryside on the lookout for what they can steel from farmers, a
Susan Stemont
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just in time for Halloween, Phil Rickman, master of "gothic crime fiction" (for lack of a better term) is back with the best Merrily Watkins book in a while. If you haven't met her in books 1-13, Merrily is a C of E vicar in the village of Ledwardine (on the metaphysical grey area between England and Wales) who specializes in "night work," excursions into the paranormal that frequently culminate in exorcism. Merrily has a neo-pagan teenage daughter to worry about and a former folk-rocker boyfrie ...more
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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.

Other books in the series

Merrily Watkins (1 - 10 of 15 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)
  • The Fabric of Sin (Merrily Watkins, #9)
  • To Dream of the Dead (Merrily Watkins, #10)

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