When last we left our intrepid band, Ryan and decided to stay with the Penitites, and Micki and Jack discovered that the dream-murder quilt they’d gone in search for was actually a fake…
In the colony, Effie Stokes is gloating over keeping possession of the quilt when another one of the Penitites, Elder Florance, spies her with it. Reverend Grange is also informed that the other Penitite colonies are considering stepping in and removing him from leadership over his bachelor status (and those pesky financial questions), and that there are rumors that all the recent deaths are the result of Ryan practicing demonology (despite the deaths starting before he arrived), and that an Inquisitor is arriving to inspect the colony. Florence tells Ryan of her plan to take the quilt from Effie and give it to the Reverend, which mostly involves telling Effie she’s going to tell, leaving Effie no choice but to go to sleep, neatly framing Ryan for Florence’s death. Ryan tells the Reverend about the quilt, and is promptly sworn to secrecy until Grange can learn the truth.
That night at dinner, the Reverend announces to the colony that he has chosen Effie as his new bride and that they have already been secretly married, which goes to show how much of a dope Ryan is. That night Effie makes her bid to take over the colony completely by placing the quilt on her marital bed with Grange, only to find that she’s now in his dream of killing her. And Grange wraps her body up in a blanket and hides it in the cellar. When the Inquisitor arrives a day early, the colony members do their best to frame Ryan for the murders, although he is having none of it, but Grange takes the opportunity to tell Ryan that he’s been expelled on the Inquisitor’s orders. When the Inquisitor actually summons Ryan for an interview, Grange is forced to use the quilt again, once again putting Ryan in the frame, with no higher authority to prevent him from ordering Ryan burnt at the stake.
Because, you know, they don’t have to actually obey the law, apparently.
Jack and Micki finally arrive at the colony after their long series of increasingly unlikely comical car troubles to find Ryan condemned and no one there actually willing to listen to the fact that they don’t have the legal authority to try Ryan and that they’re all going to go to jail for first degree murder. Laura searches for the quilt as Ryan is tied to the stake, finding Effie’s body in the process and presenting the bloody blanket as proof to the rest of the colony. Grange makes a break for it, hiding in the mill where he’s put the quilt because sure, a working mill, no one will notice a quilt with Satanic markings on it in there, and getting tossed through a window in a struggle with Ryan. And Ryan goes back to the shop and Laura becomes the new colony leader.
So, the underwhelming first part turns out to have and underwhelming second part. The story here actually holds up slightly better, as there’s less padding in general. It’s pretty much just a solo outing for John LeMay, but he’s not given much to do all the same other than to exposit angrily about the quilt, and doesn’t get much interaction with most of the guest cast.