simon j logo
websites   projects   writing   speaking   blog    
  here and now  
Hi and thanks for landing here. It might seem a bit backward, but I decided to start blogging only because I've been enjoying Twitter so much. While I love the 140 character limit of tweets, I realised that a blog would give me a place where I could have the luxury of saying a bit more. I've also set up here because I have a blogging project in mind... but more on that later.
Right now my face is stuck in the following books...
Paradise Lost   Bring Up the Bodies  
Forest Church   The Geometry of Type  
advertising  art  Bible  books  cartoons  church  design  Facebook  icons  internet  Istanbul  JC  kitsch  London  movies  music  offence  overheard  pictures  poetry  politics  Pope  Qur'an  random  science  technology  theology  travel  TV  Twitter  typography  writing 
Seven churches 2013
Bach pilgrimage 2012
Flying to Byzantium 2010
April 2014
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
Picture of the cover for A Vicar, Crucified
A Vicar, Crucified

Posted on 15 June 2013, 21:35

It’s not often a book keeps me up late three nights in a row, but A Vicar, Crucified by author Simon Parke kept sleep at bay this week where lesser books have failed.

It’s a murder mystery novel with a plot that has more twists than a hangman’s noose, written by a former vicar who has the inside story on the many reasons why parishioners might reasonably want to murder their priest.

On the murder most foul scale, this is close to the far end of foul, with flippant priest Anton Fontaine, vicar of St Michael’s Stormhaven (a quiet south coast town), nailed to a cross in his own vestry after the mother of all church meetings. The cast of suspects includes Bishop Stephen, who elevates himself by putting others down, Curate Sally, who likes to demonstrate she’s in charge, and youth worker Ginger, whose temper is on a hair-trigger.

Helping the police with their enquiries (as witness rather than suspect) is Abbot Peter, recently returned to Britain from running a monastery in the Sinai Desert. And helping him is the enneagram, the psychological profiling tool which gives the Abbot deep insight into the motivations of the suspects.

The dialogue of the novel is especially satisfying for anyone who fantasises about telling others exactly how irritating they are. ‘I sometimes wonder if you belong here, Peter?’ the Bishop tells the Abbot in a savage moment of passive aggression. ‘Have you ever thought of going somewhere you matter?’

Simon Parke, before he did his vicaring, was a scriptwriter for Spitting Image, and his satirical instincts are on fine display in the novel.

Most of all, though, I enjoyed the psychological insights of the book, with Abbot Peter lifting the lid on his fellow human beings as they manipulate others and reveal their own desires. That gave me plenty to think about when I wasn’t engrossed in the plot or trying to beat the Abbot in the race to discover the murderer. Which I didn’t, of course.

A Vicar, Crucified is the first in a series of at least three Abbot Peter novels, the second, A Psychiatrist, Screams, having just gone to the printer. I’m looking forward to some more sleepless nights when it’s out in the autumn.

click to post about this on facebook   click to bookmark on delicious   click to post about this on reddit   click to post about this on twitter   Tweet this

Add your comment



Your comment

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Please note that all comments are read and approved before they appear on the website... sad but true

      Follow me on...
    follow me on twitter follow me on facebook follow me on pinterest subscribe to this blog via rss
    contact   about