IT GLOWS at sunset, as if from within. The green man observes all who enter by the south doorway while the Sheela na gig exposes herself to the dead.

The parish church at Kilpeck, in south Herefordshire, is perhaps the most mysterious in Britain, its walls decked with ancient symbolism, very little of it obviously Christian. Nobody claims to understand it. It invites obsession.

Why should somewhere so tiny and remote be more ornate than many cathedrals? Why, after more than eight centuries, should it look so new, when little remains of the nearby medieval castle?

Anyway, this little church, in the centre of another of those disappeared medieval villages, is at the heart of All of a Winter’s Night, which may not explain all its mysteries, but does, I hope, cast its flickering light over a few.



John Williams, Mail on Sunday



When I learned what had been discovered just a few years ago by archaeologists in the ruins of Kilpeck Castle, something came together. 

The real world is stranger than most of us think. I don’t want to make stuff up when there are paths to follow, links to be made. Following is more interesting than trying to lead, even you lose sleep not knowing where you’re going to wind up.  I’ve found that the less I invent the more surprising the book turns out. It needs to be organic. Let it come through. Don’t push too hard… and it will be different.


‘The shocks and scares come thick and fast, but Rickman is much too good a writer to use a shovel to apply the chills and horror: instead, he uses the finest of squirrel-hair brushes, and we readers suffer endless torments of subtle suggestions, veiled threat and a pervading sense that all is far from well.

By fair means or foul, get hold of a copy of this book, switch the phone into answer mode, bolt the door and pretend there’s no-one at home while you are swept along by the brilliant writing.’ 


“As ever with Rickman’s books, all the threads gradually start to come together in a rich and varied pattern, shot through with heavy strands of darkness that make it wise to read in a well-lit room. If you make the mistake of taking this book to bed, like I did, expect to have some very disturbing dreams. Rickman is on top form here, as are all his characters. Morris dancing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s wholly in keeping with  the liminal landscape of the Herefordshire border country and provides a delightfully sinister theme for the latest book in a series that I pounce on with positively indecent haste whenever one appears.” CRIME REVIEW


The old year’s hanging on a rusting hinge

Kids in the city on a drinking binge

And no-one hears the ancient engines

Grinding underground


The farmer’s poison-spray pollutes

The green man dines on twisted roots

And all the land lies destitute

The meadows turning brown


And it takes all of a winter’s night

To change the chords and put things right

All of a winter’s night

To dance the darkness down



The hunting tawny owl espies

The dark between the Sheela’s thighs

But doesn’t care to meet her eyes

Till morning comes around


The wind is growling in the east

To raise the devil, scorn the priest

Let’s light the lamps for Lucy’s feast

And dance the darkness down


And it takes all of a winter’s night

To change the chords and put things right

All of a winter’s night

To dance the darkness down.




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