Read The Cure of Souls by Phil Rickman Online


As high summer bakes the rich earth of north-east Herefordshire, dark shadows gather around a converted hopkiln where the last owner was savagely murdered. Though the local vicar dismisses claims by its current occupants that the place is haunted, their story is soon splashed over a Sunday newspaper—and Merrily Watkins is directed by the Bishop of Hereford to defuse this sAs high summer bakes the rich earth of north-east Herefordshire, dark shadows gather around a converted hopkiln where the last owner was savagely murdered. Though the local vicar dismisses claims by its current occupants that the place is haunted, their story is soon splashed over a Sunday newspaper—and Merrily Watkins is directed by the Bishop of Hereford to defuse this situation. Merrily, however, is already contending with a woman's claim that her adopted teenage daughter is possessed by an evil spirit. In both cases Merrily remains unconvinced, but in this summer of oppressive heat and sudden storms, nothing is ever quite what it seems....

Title : The Cure of Souls
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330487566
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Cure of Souls Reviews

  • Laura
    2019-06-17 23:54

    4.5 stars. I love it when a series I loved from the start actually improves with age. Reasons to read this series (beginning with The Wine of Angels):1. The guy can write.No idea why he's not more popular in the US, but considering Fifty Shades of Crap was a best seller, maybe Phil Rickman should take that as a compliment. 2. The setting. Who doesn't like the British countryside? Please. I wanna move there. 3. The characters. Ok, the author is a man and the protagonist is a woman. You'd never know it. This guy nails women, and he nails teenaged girls (protagonist is a single mum of one daughter). Since this takes place in a village, you get recurring villagers, some of whom are so quirky and cool that I just love spending time with them. It's also been interesting to see their growth through the series. 4. Yes, the main character is a priest. No, the book is not religious or preachy. She is the diocesan exorcist. I happen to believe that both God and the devil are real, but some people don't believe in God, but believe in ghosts. Some believe in none of the above. I don't think it matters. Maybe the creepy factor goes up if you believe this kind of thing happens (Don't miss the Author's Note at the end of the books. These books all have elements of reality in them. Quite chilling reality at times! I alternate between reading and listening to the Audible books. I love Audible, but it bugs me that the audiobooks never include the Author's Note.)5. The series is very British. It helps to be British, or at least familiar with the slang, to enjoy the books. Or to have an interpreter! (Thanks, Fiona.) You could probably google the slang. You'll probably only need an interpreter for the first book in the series. Don't wait for October. Treat yourself to a spooky read now. A chilling read to ward off the summer heat! Book Depository delivers to the US for free. I've found three of the four books read in the series so far on Amazon secondhand, another great option. Phil Rickman deserves to be more widely read. PS: If you enjoy audiobooks, this series is wonderfully performed. A+ to the audiobook.

  • Charlene M.
    2019-06-05 02:50

    It will soon be summer and time again for me to re-read The Cure of Souls -- it's become a personal tradition to return to the Frome Valley in England as the weather warms. I'll join again with Merrily Watkins as she brushes against the supernatural, along with series regulars Lol Robinson and Frannie Bliss, to solve an old murder. Phil Rickman vividly evokes the heat and haze of summer as he entwines several story lines to provide an engrossing read, if not an entirely satisfying climax. (I won't give the solution away by revealing why satisfaction eluded me.) The Cure of Souls introduced me to a couple of my favorite characters in Rickman's canon: the Rev. Simon St. John and his irrepressible wife, Isabelle. I was intrigued enough to seek them out again in December, the more-traditional horror novel where their story began. These two novels convinced me that Rickman deserves to be better known in the United States, where intelligent and restrained crime fiction with a supernatural touch is hard to come by.

  • Damaskcat
    2019-05-25 20:08

    Lol Robinson is living in the Herefordshire countryside and working with Prof Levin who has a recording studio. Lol is starting to write songs again and is toying with the idea of recording some, but it seems like too big a step to make. He is still thinking about Merrily Watkins - Deliverance Consultant to the Diocese of Hereford. Merrily herself has been approached by the mother of a teenage daughter who has suddenly turned against the Church and has started behaving strangely. Merrily is trying to decide whether the girl is possessed or whether it's the normal pains of growing up - writ large.Merrily is asked to perform an exorcism in a former hop kiln close to where Lol is living. But things are never plain and simple and life is a lot more complicated in the village of Knight's Frome than it at first appears and people are definitely not what they seem. The story gradually builds to an atmospheric and exciting conclusion. This book will keep you reading and will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. There are some interesting characters - Gareth Stock and his wife who own the apparently haunted former hop kiln; Sally and Al Boswell who own and run the hop museum. There are interesting insights into how hop picking used to be carried out and into Romany beliefs.I found the characters realistic and believable - the half gypsy Layla - who has the personality and appearance of an adult even though she is still a child; big businessman Allan Henry whose only motivations are money and power and Amy's parents trying to do the best they can for their daughter. The story is complex and enthralling and it is good to see Lol and Merrily working together again. This is the fourth book in the Merrily Watkins series and in my opinion one of the best.

  • Booniss
    2019-05-28 03:08

    Another great entry in what has become one of my favourite series.The Cure of Souls sees Merrily wrestling with how to tell the possessed from the piss takers. It all seems to go horribly wrong when after pulled in different directions by her conscience, instinct, directions from the Church and pressure from the press, she goes ahead with a light exorcism after which a grisly murder is committed. It soon transpires that her daughter Jane is entangled in the same issues, as well as her old friend Lol who makes a welcome reappearance.The books and Merrily herself tread a fine but perfect balance between the supernatural and the spiritual, and treat religious faith, paganism and atheism with equal respect which I really admire.

  • Linda
    2019-06-24 23:54

    The (fictional) Church of England, wishing to change the perception of the medieval concept of exorcism, has formed a new branch, Deliverance Ministry. Selected to lead this new endeavor is the Reverend Merrily Watkins, divorced single mom who is devoted to bringing her religion in line with current secular thinking. Merrily is requested to consult on the case of an adolescent girl whose mother suspects demonic possession. Merrily is concerned, becoming even more so when she hears that her own 16 year old daughter may play a role in this problem. At the same time, the reverend becomes reluctantly involved in an even more ominous case, reverberations from a gruesome murder that took place in a hop-kiln that's being converted to a residence. Soon Merrily finds herself embroiled in local politics, past and present, and a malignant force too murky to be identified.Set in England's picturesque, historic Marches, The Cure of Souls is a seamless blend of mystery and paranormal elements, one that incorporates historic themes (the Lady of the Bines) and modern pressures that are all too real. Rickman writes beautifully, with subtlety, and it's often hard to decide what's "real" and what's supernatural. Though classified as horror, his Watkins series might more accurately be considered as eerily suspenseful, rarely containing the stuff of nightmares, and this is what makes them so compelling and credible. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the existence of evil is virtually certain, and Rickman's novels, with their engaging characters and intelligent, riveting plots, should captivate fans of both mystery and the paranormal.

  • Peter Cresswell
    2019-06-05 01:55

    I discovered Phil Rickman completely by accident, and I am so glad I did.As per usual from page 1 I was hooked as I was in the first book in the series. Beautifully realised characters, lovely flowing prose and all backed up by damn good stories.This time the Rev Merrily Watkins gets herself in more trouble than usual as what should be a straightforward exorcism (like what could possibly go wrong) turns into a web of lies, deaths (present and past), and of course gypsies.Not to mention the very real possibility that all the trouble she finds herself in trying to help people may just bring about her expulsion from the clergy.Great read, highly recomended.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-12 19:01

    Three and a half stars. What a close-knit mix of the paranormal, the spiritual and the psychological in this fourth novel of Rev. Merrily Watkins! Too much, perhaps?I really like the recurring characters, and the story was original and well constructed, although it didn't quite grab me as much as the first three. The Romany magic was maybe a bit far-fetched for me, a simple gaujo, but that hasn't put me off the series.

  • Lisa Greer
    2019-06-12 21:50

    This is one of the Merrily Watkins series. Merrily is a chain smoking fireball of an Anglican deliverance minister. In other words, she does exorcisms in Great Britain usually on the Welsh border where all kinds of strange things happen. This is my favorite novel in the series so far. I really like the character of her boyfriend, Lol, and I found some great music due to this novel (Nick Drake-- "Time of No Reply", anyone?). The whole series is worth reading. The author is agnostic, by the way.

  • Diane Dickson
    2019-06-04 02:48

    I can't say exactly why, but I didn't like this one quite as much as the others. It was intriguing and I really enjoyed the information about gypsies and the characters were fascinating. I thought the story was a bit disjointed though. I do worry that Merrily is never going to gain any confidence, she still seems terribly unsure of herself. All in all it was a decent enough read and I'm looking forward to the next one (I have another novel to read in between times) but if I was listing them in order of preference this would be bottom of the list.

  • Reynardine
    2019-06-04 02:10

    I was disappointed in the previous book, but Phil Rickman redeemed himself with this outstanding mystery (with a touch of the supernatural). He walks a fine line between the two and manages to keep his balance. There were a lot of twists and turns in this book, and some were very unexpected. Once again, Merrily and Jane are wonderful. Lol returns, and while he's not a favorite of mine, he didn't bore me this time. Jane's boyfriend Eirion is shaping up to be a great character, too.

  • Katie Grainger
    2019-06-01 01:05

    Phil Rickman knows how to write characters, I am starting to feel that I know Merrily and her family. Another fantastic story. Another great mystery which has so many strands which weave together to make an wonderful story.Phil Rickman is able to really bring Merrily’s world vividly to life. It was great to have Lol back too. I just can’t wait to see where this series goes next as we ended with an exciting development. Right onto the next one!

  • Judi Mckay
    2019-06-12 01:15

    In my view, the best yet of the series. Good story and I learned something about Romanies (I'm 1/4 Romany but 'we don't talk about it') And I'm happy I have loads more to read in the series.

  • Jo Hurst
    2019-06-11 21:14

    Phil Rickman never fails to deliver and this the 4th in the Merrily Watkins series lives up to the brilliance of the others. I seriously ( and to the detriment of other things) could not put this down. I was gripped and because you care for the characters you really root for them throughout. Only criticism and not one that would make me drop a star is the conclusion to the 2 story lines felt a bit rushed at the end and could have done with a little more detail, but this does not distract from the story as there is something else to 'sort out' at the end.

  • Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
    2019-06-02 22:01

    Another intriguing addition to this series although I often found myself wishing Merrily would show a little more backbone.

  • Debbie
    2019-05-30 20:06

    I think this may be the best Merrily Watkins yet.The Cure of Souls has two supernatural mysteries that push Merrily way out of her depth and have tragic consequences.In Ledwardine Village Merrily is called in to help a 14 year old girl, Amy Shelbone, from a good Christian family who has changed from a pious, studious Christian to a child who avoids church at all cost and who threw up all over the Canon during Holy Communion. Her parents fear for her soul and unbeknownst to Merrily, Amy has been involved with a small group of girls at school who have been holding séances, led by Layla, a girl with gypsy ancestry. Jane has unintentionally been drawn into this group on one occasion - a fact she hasn't mentioned to Merrily.Lol meanwhile is housesitting for an old music mate in the small hop-growing village of Knight's Frome, and attempting to record songs. While out for a walk one might he sees a ghost-like figure of a naked woman in an empty hop field. He discovers that gypsies used to come and pick the hops in Knights Frome and there are murders and disappearances related to the gypsies and a legend of a ghost - The Lady of the Bines.Gerard Stock lives in Knights Frome in a home made from an old hop kiln. The kiln was inherited from his wife's uncle who was murdered by two gypsies and Gerard is so disturbed by the place that he seeks help from Merrily to cleanse it.The gypsy view of death and spirits is quite different from the Christian one and Merrily must play the role of drukerimaskri, the healer of souls. But Merrily's lack of experience with deliverance from evil spirits is challenged by both these cases and everything she does seems to make things worse.When Amy disappears both Merrily and Jane set out to find her but it is Jane and Eirion who end up caught in a tragic scene with Amy. Merrily finally manages to exorcise the demons in Knights Frome but not before the evil has claimed two lives. The plot, the atmosphere and the characters all combined to make this a great story. And I liked the ending :)

  • Kerry Hennigan
    2019-06-02 20:52

    The Cure of Souls, one of Phil Rickman's masterful Merrily Watkins mysteries, is one of the more complex novels in this popular series.Mixing Romney magic with Christianity and psychology, plus a ghostly hop field of blighted bines and an unquiet 'spirit' who wanders it under the moonlight - The Cure of Souls has almost too many ingredients in the mix.A savage murder is enacted in a converted hop kiln after Merrily tries to dispel any lingering evil from the past with a blessing for release and peace. It doesn't seem to have worked, and now the police want to know what it was she was doing there.In his usual cryptic fashion, Rickman keeps us guessing what is real and what is imagined, and his chapters invariably end enigmatically - a sure-fire way of keeping readers turning the pages, hungry for more.The Cure of Souls is not the most satisfying, and also not the easiest to follow book Rickman has penned. The first time I read it, I thought I wouldn't want to revisit it. But many Merrily Watkins mysteries later, it seemed churlish not to give it another chance.I'm glad I did, but I still find it the least accessibly book in an otherwise addictive series.Review by Kerry Hennigan24 September 2013

  • Rhode
    2019-06-13 20:15

    It's a long hot summer (ok English summer which means lukewarm where I'm from, but anyway) and everyone is fighting evil in the hop fields wearing skimpy clothing (well, only the women's skimpy tops are mentioned.) This is the first book of the series in which anyone is even a teensy bit sexy. (OK Rickman's version of sexy which means somewhat flirty where I'm from, but anyway.)I am finally warming to Lol, who was just SUCH an outright wimp in past books that I did not see why any woman should be interested in him. He's getting a bit stronger, and apparently he actually is talented. This is also really the first book where we get several more sympathetic male characters. So yay, out of the Rickman-loathsome-men-only slump!There's a lot about gypsies, probably well researched. And the difference between the countryside of the 1960s when rural gentry still apparently held sway vs today when they are mostly broke or written off as annoying yet inconsequential by locals. I didn't care much about either topic, but the book itself is a sweeping good read, carrying you along until you stay up far too late at night to finish it.So, it was basically a 3, but I stuck on another star for lost sleep.

  • Teresa
    2019-06-01 00:49

    I really want to like this series of books a lot which is why I keep going back to them. However, I find them very confusing, so packed full of plot that it becomes a little difficult to keep on top of what is happening and subsequently to understand what is going on. The plots are so intricate and involved that as a reader you need to be able to completely absorb yourself in the story. Having said this they are still enjoyable, another reason I keep going back, and there is a need to know how the characters and relationships are going to develop.Although Merrily is a vicar and therefore religion plays a part in the books, Merrily questions her faith and it does not come across as something set in stone. She's not going to leave the church but this faith is not forced down your throat. Don't let the religion either put you off or make it the reason to read these books, if you do I think you will be disappointed. Rather, read them because the plots are like no other and they do indeed make you think.

  • David L
    2019-06-16 02:12

    Merrily Watkins is the deliverance minister for the Diocese of Hereford, i.e., an exorcist. She suffers in this outing two failures that cause her to question her adequacy for her vocation. One involves a good girl who develops an antipathy to her adoptive parents’ religion after trying to contact her dead mother on a Ouija board. The other involves her going to hop country along the Frome River, where she tries to help a local cottager whose local priest refused to help him. Such is the dry bones of the cases. The fleshy details involve hop country classism and racism, Gypsies, a sleazy real estate developer, his powerful girl-woman stepdaughter, and rock music.I have read many Phil Rickman books by now and may have some trouble remembering this one, which despite being entertaining, and suspenseful, lacks a certain uumph. I know that one problem is that, after reading five of her adventures, I still don’t have a strong grip on Merrily as a character. I can’t even visualize her. I find her bland and uninteresting even in this tale, where she is put through the ringer.

  • Karen
    2019-06-08 21:58

    This series is getting better and better as Phil Rickman fleshes out his characters and settles into the rural Herefordshire setting.In this instalment Merrily & Lol's relationship progresses gently, Lol starts to think about going back to his music again, and Merrily gets involved in the exorcism of a former hop kiln which spirals off into suspected murder, teenage angst, rural politics and a healthy dose of "spooky stuff". The thing I like about Phil Rickman is that the spooky stuff is always plausible, which makes it even more spooky and chilling.Excellent stuff. I highly recommend these books.I listened to this on Audible. The narrator (Emma Powell) does a good job, her regional accents ring pretty true and she distinguishes well between the various characters. My only complaint is that Merrily's accent wavers about a bit, and is now sounding very rural which seems unlikely to me given that she moved to Herefordshire as an adult.

  • Carol
    2019-06-02 21:06

    Wieder ein spannender Roman aus der Merrily Watkins Reihe, mit plastisch beschriebenen Protagonisten, die es mit Totenbeschwörung und Exorzismus zu tun bekommen. Dazu treibt offenbar ein Geist in einer alten Hopfendarre sein Unwesen, der wohl einen gewaltsamen Tod erlitten hat. Auf dem Gebäude jedenfalls scheint ein Fluch zu liegen. Aber die Segnung durch die Pfarrerin geht fürchterlich schief, was die Medien auf den Plan ruft, die eine Hetzkampagne lostreten. Fast scheint Merrilys Karriere am Ende zu sein, doch dann findet sie eine Spur zu dem Mord.In diesem Buch bindet der Autor den Riten und der Historie der Roma in das Geschehen ein, in dem sich Glaube und Aberglaube erneut mit einander vermischen. Ein sehr interessantes Thema. Eher langatmig dagegen die philosophischen Betrachtungen von Merrilys Musikerfreund Lol. Und auch die landwirtschaftlichen Hintergründe zum Hopfenanbau an sich wirken deplatziert in einem Mysteryroman. Daher nur drei von fünf Sternen.

  • Victoria
    2019-06-24 00:55

    Wow! I think this fourth book is the best yet in the series!! Well, maybe not quite the very best because the ending was more unresolved than any of the previous books in the series (which honestly, could stand alone, but I would recommend reading them in order for the sake of the wonderful characters and their development). Some loose ends aside (which, this is a series, so perhaps they will be tied up in the next book!), this installment definitely is the most exciting and downright thrilling! It is absolutely action-packed!Merrily and Jane and other series regulars continue to feel like real, living and breathing people. And Lol returns in this book which was so pleasant (although his return may shock some American readers considering Merrily’s position in the clergy...). A lot happens with Jane as well, as she matures and grows. And though my “to-read” pile of books is growing, right now I only want to continue reading this series - I am so thoroughly enjoying it!

  • Gerhard
    2019-06-01 22:53

    In her fourth adventure, after many a brush with the supernatural, Merrily Watkins tackles a more mundane evil that, nevertheless, resonates very deeply with many readers. Unfortunately I am unable to recommend this latests installment in Phil Rickman's long-running series. Despite the uncontested societal relevance and quite thought-provoking presentation by the author, I would have hoped of a somewhat deeper discussion of the subject matter than the simple phrase "Error getting licence: E_LIC_ALREADY_FULFILLED_BY_ANOTHER_USER Adobe(R) Digital Editions". Admittedly, this short and poignant set of letters encompasses all that is wrong with the attitude of authors and publishers in treating their readers as either criminals or spirally threaded bolts (or both), but it falls woefully short of the expectations raised by its excellent predecessors. 1 1/2 stars.

  • Anthony Fisher
    2019-06-13 21:55

    I always enjoy the 'Merrily Watkins' series of Phil Rickman's books, they never disappoint. As usual there is a good plot with a well researched theme. This story has a good balance of characters, who are involved in the plot, with the expected supernatural spin. Again, set in the beautiful area of the Welsh Border land. This is the fourth book in the series, with the main characters having been further progressed and developed. I find this author produces consistently well thought out and original books. Always backed up with good historical research leading to reasonably credible books (though somewhat stretched a little at times). They are always entertaining page turners.

  • Bryn
    2019-05-26 00:52

    I've been reading Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins books for a while - in totally the wrong order. They do stand alone very well, but there are story arcs involving the characters that probably benefit from being read the right way round.As with the other Merrily Watkins stories, this is a mystery with an occult twist, set in Herefordshire, in hop farming country. There's a gypsey element, a troubled teenage girl, the mystery of a ghostly woman who appears in the fields, a recent murder, and a much older mystery that needs unravelling. It's a tightly written tale with plenty of twists and developments, and some very engaging characters. Rickman handles occult mystery with a deft touch.

  • Leanne Hunt
    2019-06-11 22:08

    Yet another brilliantly told and richly informative novel about the struggle between good and evil as experienced by Anglican priest Merrily Watkins in the countryside of Herefordshire near the Welsh border. This time, the drama revolves around gypsy lore and the apparent haunting of a hop kiln and surrounding fields by an unquiet ghost. However, the story draws together multiple characters, including police officers, musicians and schoolgirls, so that the overall effect is to create the sense of being transported to a vivid and friendly world with very real and interesting characters. Highly recommended.

  • Jamie Collins
    2019-06-17 23:54

    Another gripping read: Gypsies and ghosts and murder in rural England. The paranormal horror aspects are slowly increasing with each book (there is some grisly slashing and stabbing in this one) but the writing continues to be very engaging, enough so to keep me reading in a genre which does not usually interest me.I’m very much enjoying the recurring characters: I was glad to see Lol back in town, and I like Jane’s Welsh boyfriend.This is set in hops-growing country in Herefordshire. I often read in old books (most recently in Of Human Bondage) about poor families leaving London to go on “holiday” to harvest hops.

  • Amanda
    2019-06-03 01:08

    i don't have a lifelong love affair with the mystery genre, but i have the occasional one night stand. Rickman is one of my occasional hook ups. i like the character of Merrily Watkins & the religion. as a heretic i find religion exotic. The Cure of Souls is 4th in the series. i found the plot a bit complicated & was hoping the two plot lines would come together more. i'm enjoying the character of Jane more & more. i think she could have her own series. i'm very obsessive about starting at the beginning of a series & working thru the whole thing, so i imagine i'll slowly plod my way thru this one too.

  • Kari
    2019-06-10 02:10

    I should mark this 5 stars because it is 5 stars. I couldn't put it down! As always Rickman opened the door to such a richly woven story, intricate and amazingly well plotted. The problem is I adore his novel 'The Chalice' and that is 5 stars no question. So unless it can equal that brilliance then unfortunately it doesn't get the prestige of 5 stars. I'm cruel I know! I judge my Rickman's against one of my favourite books of all time. Very unfair but I blame Mr Rickman for writing such great books.

  • Judy
    2019-06-10 01:05

    The fourth book of the Merrily Watkins mysteries and it was great.Finally the main characters came together and their personalities shown through. The story, of course, about exorcism and the paranormal, but well written and it moved along at a steady pace. It took me no time to read, unlike the first three which seemed to take me forever.Of course Merrily gets some abuse from most of the men in the book about being a woman vicar, but she does take it with a grain of salt. Recommend the series, if you have the time and can find the books.