I love mysteries from across the pond, and this is a good one.
At the head of a mountain valley in North Wales is Pennant Melangell. The remote hamlet is one of the “thin places” and has long been a pilgrimage site. The church is a shrine for the medieval Saint Melangell, and is visited by those desiring healing.
One of those desiring healing is Jenny Davison. Jenny and her husband Aiden had been to the place before and have now brought their seven-year-old daughter, Melangell. Jenny has advanced cancer and is seeking what God might have for her at this place.
New since their first time there is new hotel, The House of the Hare. The facility was designed with the needs of the sick in mind. It is to be a place where pilgrims in search of healing can stay.
But death, rather than healing ensues as the owner of the hotel is found murdered. He was killed with an arrow to the eye. Those known to have used the archery range are under suspicion, including Jenny.
Besides being a well written mystery, readers are introduced to some of the lore of North Wales. Many believe Pennant Melangell is a sacred place for Christians while others promote an ancient pagan goddess. Sampson notes that the shrine church at Pennant Melangell is real and worth a visit. She has added the fictional hotel and cottages. For someone who has never been to Wales, it was fun reading about the area.
This is the first in a series featuring Aidan Davison set in the “thin places” of the Celtic world. I'll be looking for the next one.
Watch the trailer for the book here.
Fay Sampson is a widely published author with an interest in fantasy and Celtic history. She has been shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize on three occasions and is a winner of the Barco de Vapor award. Find out more at www.faysampson.co.uk.
Monarch Books, distributed by Kregel Publications, 280 pages.
Publisher's product page.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.