An Unholy Communion by Donna Fletcher Crow
The Monastery Murders series
Published by Lion, March 2013
Felicity is an Anglican Ordinand, an ex-pat American engaged to a priest who teaches at a theological college. When she attends the early sunrise celebration of the Ascension at the Community of the Transfiguration, she is shocked beyond measure when a body lands at her feet in an exact replay of the very dream which had woken her that morning.
What could have driven Hwyl Pendry, a priest from St David’s parish in Whitchurch, West Wales, to plunge to his death from the Pusey tower? And what is the significance of the paper depicting a mysterious symbol which was in his hand as he fell? Does it have a connection to his work as a Deliverance Minister in his diocese?
When her fiance has to step in to lead an ecumenical pilgrimage for young people across Wales, Felicity goes with him, but the pilgrimage is dogged with problems, accidents and strange events from the very beginning and the mysterious symbol seems to be cropping up over and over again. Are dark forces at work or is it merely someone of ill will who is intent on making their lives difficult, and why? Fr Antony’s knowledge and experience of deliverance ministry is a perfect counterpoint to Felicity’s background in history and archaeology and they both need to use all their expertise and ingenuity to escape with their lives….
This is a clever religious thriller with an unusual flavour indeed. I was delighted to see so much of my beloved native Welsh history and religious information woven into the story as we follow the pilgrims on their journey, taking in places I know well and love. Prayers and religious services described reverently and the pilgrims’ arrival at the shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys and then onwards to St David’s in Pembrokeshire, taking in the Welsh chapel revival en route made for an absorbing and enjoyable read.
The story itself is atmospheric and depicts the wholly unpredictable and changeable Welsh weather vividly as well as some of the places where the veil between the worlds is very thin indeed, giving me goosebumps several times.
Any book which contains a definition of paraments in the glossary at the front of the book is going to be a winner in my estimation :-)