The Castle of Heavenly Bliss was revised and republished in August 2022 . It is now book 4 of the CONCILIAR SERIES
MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE Revised 2022
It is 1975. GERDA VROUWENDIJK, under the name of Edith Bicknell, arrives in the isolated rural town of Binawarra to take up a teaching position in the local high school. Ms. Vrouwendijk is confident she can keep her disguise and purpose hidden, as well as her sinister connections. But she has not reckoned on Florence Barker. Independent Miss Barker, of mature age, outwardly severe, and feared by the townspeople (‘you will call me Miss Barker’), is not at all what she seems. Nor has the memory of a brief meeting fifteen years earlier in Middelburg, Holland, with the crippled local priest, Fr van Engelen, come back to Ms. Vrouwendijk. These slips in her otherwise meticulous planning will prove critical.
Canny Miss Barker and Fr van Engelen set about discovering what Edith Bicknell is doing in their obscure little country town, and why she has an interest in the beautiful, outwardly aloof Estella Winterbine. Her motivations appear ideological but what the ideology is exactly is a mystery.
A tense game of cat and mouse follows as Ms. Vrouwendijk’s manipulation of people and events becomes ever more complex. When a senior teacher is found dead at the bottom of a peak (called Death Rock by the local youth), and the local newspaper begins attacking staid Bill Huckerby, the principal of Binawarra High School, Ms. Vrouwendijk’s plans – whatever their aim – seem to have an unstoppable momentum. Then Estella goes missing. Former SAS captain and Vietnam veteran, Geoffrey Shawcross, sets off in a pursuit that takes him across the world to France and then to the Castle of Heavenly Bliss in the Dutch province of Zeeland. Mystery and thrill go together as Geoff searches for the girl he has fallen in love with.
The CONCILIAR SERIES will consist of at least six connected but stand-alone stories. The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, and Gnosticism are threads to greater or lesser degrees through the stories. The historical, political, and ideological background is the cultural revolution the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) and the Second Vatican Council. The author who lived through those times recreates its atmosphere.
Book 1 TIMES OF DISTRESS
Book 2 IN THIS VALE OF TEARS
Book 3 COUNTERCULTURE DREAMS, due 2023
Book 4 THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS, revised and republished 2022
Book 5 (untitled) due 2024.
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