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The Anatomy of Ghosts Hardcover – 2 Sep 2010

39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; First Edition edition (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718147510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718147518
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Taylor is a British crime and historical novelist, winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger (for lifelong excellence in the genre) and many other awards. His books include the international bestseller, The American Boy (a Richard and Judy selection); the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); The Anatomy of Ghosts, shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year; The Scent of Death, winner of the Historical Dagger; and The Silent Boy.

He is also the author of three Kindle Singles novellas - Broken Voices; The Leper House; and The Scratch.

He lives on the borders of England and Wales. He is the Spectator's crime fiction reviewer.

For more information about Andrew Taylor and his books, see: www.andrew-taylor.co.uk

Follow on twitter: @andrewjrtaylor

Product Description

About the Author

Andrew Taylor is the author of a number of critically acclaimed crime novels, including the Roth Trilogy (ITV's Fallen Angel) and The American Boy, his bestselling historical novel which was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection. He has won many awards, including two CWA Ellis Peters Historical Daggers and most recently the CWA Diamond Dagger. He lives in the Forest of Dean.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By sahara VINE VOICE on 2 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Not the obvious ghost thriller but more a tale of hauntings that have more impact than bumps in the night. This sophisticated feel to the story gives credit to Andrew Taylor's new novel The Anatomy of Ghosts.

It is the sighting of Lady Whichcote, recently drowned in the grounds of Jerusalem College, Cambridge, which sends Frank Oldershaw into the asylum. Desperate to salvage her son's reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw hires the services of John Holdsworth, author of a book discrediting the spirit world, to make sense of the matter. When Holdsworth discovers there is more to Sylvia Whichcote's death and that she is not the only young lady to die upon College Grounds, the mystery unravels. The realisation that it is not just the physical sighting of ghosts that can haunt the human soul is a lesson learned by both men.

Taylor creates the perfect backdrop to this haunting tale in the confined colleges of 18th Century Cambridge. As we follow the character's movements around the streets and waterways, a world of secrets, power struggles and the darker side of privileged life emerges. The language, the characters the setting all add to the mood of the novel making it not only an entertaining read but will grip you in suspense throughout.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Andrew Taylor is a very prolific author with over forty novels under his belt but he didn't come to my attention until 2003 with the publication of his first historical crime novel, The American Boy which was one of the Richard and Judy Book Club choices. I have been a fan ever since and equally enjoyed Bleeding Heart Square published in 2008.

In The Anatomy of Ghosts we are plunged into the murky, quirky world of Cambrige University in 1786, focussing particularly on the goings on at Jerusalem College (modelled, structurally anyway, on the actual Emmanuel College). Hedonism is the order of the day with the lavish excesses of the paying students contrasting sharply with the deprived, straitened circumstances of the scholarship pupils aka "sizars". John Holdsworth, recently widowed and down on his luck, has been employed by Lady Anne Oldershaw to recover and rehabilitate her son Frank who seems to have experienced a nervous breakdown following high jinks at the Holy Ghost Club. There are two suspicious deaths, rumours of ghosts, much political manoeuvring amongst lecturers and not much real studying going on in this academic environment!

In Taylor's previous historical novels, I was very impressed by his fluid storytelling and how he completely immerses the reader in the sights, sounds and smells of the period. I'm pleased to report that these skills are equally at play here to the extent that even the less pleasant smells are vividly recreated, for example Tom Turdman, the night soil man who collects the excretions of the students. None of the characters are particularly likeable and one has the impression that everyone is strongly in favour of self-advancement by whatever means necessary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jenny VINE VOICE on 17 May 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr Hollingsworth has suffered afew unfortunate events, namely the loss of both his son & wife as well as the loss of his livelihood. He accepts an invitation from a wealthy old lady to travel to Jerusalem College, Cambridge and investigate her son's sudden mental decline supposedly a result of his having seen seeing a ghost. Once there he meets a cast of unique characters all invariably acting in their own self-interest which only serves to complicate matters further.
I had hoped this book would be a good ghost story, complete with spooky goings-on and veiled women floating down old corridors but I was to be disappointed. Ultimately the book reads more like a `Whodunit' that ends with the slightly flat revelation of who the killer is. That said, the characters are well drawn and I was quite impressed by the dialogue, it can't be easy to recreate the rhetoric of 200 years ago but Taylor succeeds. I also loved the love story between Hollingsworth and the Master's wife and this is despite my normally loathing love stories. It was very deftly done with some truly delicate scenes between the two characters beautifully drawn.
Overall a decent work of fiction that's main highlight for me was the exhibition of the snobbery of young rich men and the struggle not to mention servitude of their poor fellow students.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Manda Scott VINE VOICE on 4 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I won't re-tell the story; others have done that, but I will say that I started this novel on Monday evening, had to be prised away from it that night and the next, and stayed up until 1 am to finish it on Wednesday. Like all of Andrew Taylor's work, this is a masterpiece of delightful, lyrical language; crisp, perfect dialogue that rings with the particular cadences of the time; an insight in the Cambridge collegiate system that is little short of breathtaking... and all wrapped up in a story that twists and turns with every other page. It feels like a ride down the Cam, but one far more gripping than any I have taken. It's gorgeous: Read it...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jl Adcock VINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
Andrew Taylor is clearly a master practitioner of historical/crime/mystery novels based on The Anatomy of Ghosts. Not often given to reading period fiction like this, I found myself drawn into the meticulously crafted feel of the times, and the langauge and narrative was of a very high standard and maintained throughout to keep the pages turning.

As other reviewers have commented, branding this as a ghost story is rather misleading, as the book is more a story of loss, grief, unspoken passions and underhand doings at the fictional Jerusalem College in Cambridge in the late eighteenth century. Right to the end the mood and mystery of the story is maintained beautifully, and only at the very end does it feel slightly unsatisfactory as a conclusion.

However, an engrossing page-turner crafted with intelligence and a lightness of touch that means the sense of period never overwhelms either the reader or the story. Will certainly be reading more from Andrew Taylor.
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