The Stranger House by Reginald Hill

Superbly well written mystery (and more) about you Aussie mathematician Samantha Flood/Sam and young Spanish/English catholic Miguel Madero/Mig. They meet each other by coincidence in Illtwaithe, a small town far out in the country side in England. Sam is in Illtwaithe to find out what happened to her grandmother who used to live in Illthwaite – or did she – before she begins her studies at the university in Cambridge. The people of Illtwaithe are not the most talkative ones and specially not when Sam begins enquiring about her grandmother. Mig is in Illthwaite in order to study early catholicism, having dropped out of a priestly seminary. He experiences much the same as Sam, no one really wants to talk. Something dark and sinister runs hidden beneath the layers of time through Illtwaithe, and the town close ranks against the two foreigners. Whatever happened involving Sam and Mig began almost at the time of the Vikings when people believed in the Nordic gods and continued up through time. Sam and Mig must dig deep to come to the bottom of things. Reginald Hill is amazing in his descriptions of chararacter and places and you really feel you get to know those people. Both the sympathetic ones and the un-sympathetic ones. The book is rather long and perhaps takes some time to get into, but I really liked it, also because it is so well written and the plot is more than just a simple plot.