David Pinner


Finders Keepers




“Ritual’s opulent dialogue, with the sickly richness of its countryside, and Pinner’s decaying village, can stand alone from the book’s illustrious successor. But, be warned, like The Wicker Man, it is quite likely to test your dreams of leaving the city for a shady nook by a babbling brook.” Bob Stanley (St.Etienne / The Guardian)

Shrouded in the same brand of mystery and contradiction that forms its tangled plot, Ritual, the 1967 debut by RADA-trained playwright David Pinner is commonly recognised by cult cinema fanatics as the original seed that grew into the towering movie enigma The Wicker Man. Four decades since it first hit the bookshelves, rediscover this true modern rarity and historical keystone in the well-trodden bridge between occult fiction and cinematic pop culture.

Set against an enclosed rural Cornish landscape, Ritual follows the trail of English police officer, David Hanlin, who is requested to investigate the murder of a local child. During the protagonist’s short stay, he is slowly subjected to a spectacle of psychological trickery, sexual seduction, ancient religious practices and nightmarish sacrificial rituals.

All of these fantastical ingredients were used for the cinematic rewrite by Anthony Schaffer who, along with Christopher Lee, obtained the film rights to Ritual six years after the novel’s publication. Pinner’s poetic and hallucinatory sequences were transformed into the rural celluloid folk story for Robin Hardy’s 1973 film, The Wicker Man, which has enthralled and inspired generations of British movie patrons and folk-pop enthusiasts throughout the world.

Original copies of Ritual’s short print run have been known to command price tags as high as £600, rendering reading copies, in any form, to be virtually untraceable… until now.

Finders Keepers Record’s debut print run sees Ritual painstakingly reproduced from the author’s own personal copy, including its original striking wood-cut cover artwork and a new forward by The Guardian / The Times journalist and pop composer Bob Stanley.