St Mary’s Church in Ross on Wye will host a captivating event in collaboration with The Friends of St Mary’s Church Ross on Wye, on Saturday 15th April at 6pm.

Famed author Phil Rickman will present his latest book in the Merrily Watkins series, The Fever of the World, which has just been published in paperback. Tickets for the event are priced at £8.

Set on the River Wye, The Fever of the World delves into a mysterious case involving poetry, historic obsession, and occult murder. The story begins with the strange death of an estate agent, which catches the attention of detective David Vaynor.

Before joining the police force, Vaynor had studied the renowned 18th-century poet William Wordsworth. He soon realises that the dark paganism that changed Wordsworth’s life still lingers along the River Wye’s banks, and there are some killings that even the police can’t approach.

Enter Merrily Watkins, the protagonist of the series. A parish priest, single mother, and diocesan exorcist for Hereford, Watkins is called away from her local hauntings to confront the riverside ghosts who, as Wordsworth describes, “promote ill purposes and flatter foul desires.” In the ancient heart of the Wye Valley, a long-buried grudge is about to be unearthed.

The Merrily Watkins series, now on its 16th book, has garnered widespread acclaim and has been adapted into an ITV drama starring Anna Maxwell-Martin. Phil Rickman’s talk will offer insights into his creative process and the inspiration behind his gripping novel, set right in the heart of the Wye Valley.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from the author himself and learn about the thrilling world of Merrily Watkins. The event promises to be a fascinating evening for fans of the series and newcomers alike, as well as those intrigued by the blend of local history, poetry, and dark paganism featured in the novel. Join Phil Rickman at St. Mary’s Church in Ross on Wye for a literary experience.

Last month the Gazette reported Dr Tom Moorhouse taking the stage at Rossiter Books to discuss his new novel, Ghosts in the Hedgerow.

The book delves into the mystery of the hedgehog’s disappearance, and Moorhouse, a conservation research scientist, will use his twenty years of experience to uncover the truth.

The hedgehog has been voted as the nation’s favourite animal time and time again, but in 2020, they were officially declared vulnerable and joined the Red List of Critically Endangered Species. In a town that holds the hedgehog as an ancient emblem, the disappearance of the spiny creature has raised questions. The book discusses the death of a hedgehog and the suspects. A hedgehog whodunnit that will leave the audience guessing until the end.