The Fabric of Sin by Phil Rickman (review)

I started reading the Merrily Watkins series on the 8th of May of this year. The Fabric of Sin is the ninth book in the series. For me having read nine book in a series in five months is quick reading for me. I usually grow tired of a series, stopping half way through the series after reading those first book within a couple of month, then I read a book every couple of months.

What I like about this series is that the characters feel real. Merrily the exorcist vicar who struggles with her faith on regular basis but also with combining her job with her home life. Her relationship with her boyfriend, which isn’t secret anymore but they still try to hide their relationship for the village. And her teenage daughter, Jane. Jane is struggling with the decision what she wants to do when she leaves secondary school, her boyfriend (is he still her boyfriend?), her mother’s religion and her own beliefs. Lol, Merrily’s musician boyfriend, who is having a comeback. Then there are the other regular characters that make an appearance and we are introduced to new characters.

In The Fabric of Sin Merrily is asked to quickly and discreetly take care of a possible haunting in a farmhouse acquired by the Prince of Wales. During restorations the builder and his girlfriend walk out of the job claiming the place is haunted. Although Merrily can do discreetly, being quick isn’t her thing, especially when she pressured by various people to either leave is alone or get on with the job. In her researching she discovers that in the past various things have happened in the house, Master House, which can be the cause to the troubles; a link to the Knight’s Templar and author M. R. James, a feud between two local families, a commune which performed rituals in the house and a disappearance of girl. Jane does research for Merrily meanwhile she’s have problems with her boyfriend and it’s also time for her to decide what she wants to do after graduating from secondary school.

Lol also helps out, resulting in something he wouldn’t be able to have dealt with several books ago. Although all characters develop throughout the series in this book the changes in Lol are made especially clear. When we first met him in The Wine of Angels he was trying to commit suicide, now when he’s threatened he confronts the persons responsible in a way that surprised me (but I loved it!).

The Fabric of Sin is my one of my favourites and I liked it better than the previous couple of books (that isn’t to say they weren’t good, I loved those too). This is because there is a great balance of the story of this individual book and the overarching storyline of the series. Important decisions are taken by various characters and a hint of what the future might bring.

I’m planning on finishing tenth and eleventh book before the release of The Magus of Hay on 7 November (which I’ll try to save for my holiday the week after its release). I can’t believe this isn’t a very popular series, I guess it’s the lack of action and it’s slower pace, because this series has risen to the top of my favourite series list.