Religion: The Vicar's Thrillers

In the Anglican Church of St. Aidan's at Leeds, England, the vicar was preaching the evensong sermon. In the choir stalls behind him two dozen choirboys sat still as church mice. The absence of fidgeting and whispering was not just good British behavior: the choristers were absorbed in juvenile thrillers—which the vicar had furnished.

Thirty-six-year-old Vicar Peter Mahew said he would rather see boys reading thrillers than bored by a sermon. His parishioners agreed; they supplied stacks of cowboy stories, Edgar Wallace mysteries, schoolboy magazines.

But some churchgoers outside his parish did not approve. One suggested "a better way of dealing with the...

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