Book review: Smile of a Ghost

The Smile of a Ghost (Merrily Watkins, #7)The Smile of a Ghost by Phil Rickman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always like the Merrily Watkins books and this was a good one. But I am always left not quite knowing what actually did happen!!
This time Merrily is asked to help by a friend of hers (recently retired police officer Andy Mumford), when his nephew dies after falling from Ludlow Castle. He is not convinced it was an accident and his mother seems to be seeing & speaking to the ghost of the dead child. Hence the reason for calling in Merrily, the diocesan deliverance minister (exorcist to you and me).
Merrily is going through her own challenges with the appointment of a committee to decide which cases should be dealt with by the deliverance ministry. She doesn’t get on with either of the two people appointed and they seem to want to take charge.
There are also of course, the strange characters in the town of Ludlow, not least of which is a goth/rock star famous in the 1980s who may or may not be a bit off her nut!! (It was a bit worrying to think of the 80s as a long time ago while reading this book, as those were my teen years and I now feel quite old!!)
There are also the usual characters of Jane (Merrily’s daughter, who has matured considerably in this book) and her boyfriend Eirion, policeman Frannie Bliss and the ever loyal Lol Robinson (Merrily’s boyfriend, but no-one in the village is supposed to know, except they all do and some of them are not happy about it!!).
Sadly Gomer Parry (Plant Hire) only makes a brief appearance this time round.
There are various storylines going in which of course all converge at the end of the book and various relationships are revealed which weren’t known about at the beginning of the book.
Interestingly, I had read a couple of chapters of December before switching to this book and a couple of the characters are mentioned in Smile of a Ghost.
I think it is probably best to read the Merrily Watkins books in sequence as things in the older books are brought up, but if you don’t, I think this can be read as a stand alone. But you will want to go back and read the others afterwards!
I waited a long time to read this book because it was out of print and I couldn’t find a copy. When I eventually did find one the print was quite small so I waited for the Kindle edition and whizzed through it. I’ll still keep my paperback copy though.

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