Sentence: It was an ancient and attractive custom, one
enjoyed by music-lovers and the stout-hearted but detested
by those who were trying to get ‘a decentngith’s
kip’, as Jack Boggis, the local misery, put it.
Reverend Nick Lawrence has organized a Medieval Fair to celebrate
May Day, complete with Morris Dancers, archery lessons and
a maypole. What isn’t planned is finding the body of
a young orphan impaled by an arrow and secured to the maypole
via its bright-colored ribbons. On a personal note, it was
delightful that the madrigal referenced at the beginning of
the story is one I sang years ago and still remember.
Ms. Lake created a delightful cast of non-stereotypical characters.
The vicar and subject to both questions of faith and desires,
in a good way, of the flesh, but a true Anglican vicar nonetheless,
…”I suppose if Christ came and sat on the bench
beside you, you would accuse him of being an illegal immigrant.”
The relationship between Det. Tennant and his bagman, Mark
Potter, is wonderful. Daft Dickie, an autistic man with a
horrible past, is a character you don’t know whether
to pity or fear. There’s even the Rectory ghost, William.
Although the protagonist is a vicar, do not mistake this for
a comfortable, English cozy. Lake addresses all sides of human
nature, and she does it well. If anything, you might think
of it as a dark Midsomer Murder. The history and mythology
of the old ways and legends is woven skillfully into the story.
The Moonlit Door is, in the end, a very good mystery
which touches on of the best and worst of humanity.