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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky!
The Ghost Hunters

This book must be read!
Being mainly about Borley Rectory, my girlfriend brought me this awesome novel as she knew I was interested in Borley and all that happened there. I have done many hours research on the place, with five visits there, all of which were strange to say the least. But I am certain that the supernatural exists there,...
Published 8 months ago by mattycambs

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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very uneven
This book is an imaginative account of the haunting of Borley Rectory, apparently "the most haunted house in England", and its investigation by ghost hunter, showman, charlatan (make up your own mind which) Harry Price. Set between the 1920s and the 40s, it takes us to a world where the relatives of those who fell in the First World War are exploited by false(?) mediums...
Published 9 months ago by D. Harris


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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very uneven, 7 Nov 2013
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
This book is an imaginative account of the haunting of Borley Rectory, apparently "the most haunted house in England", and its investigation by ghost hunter, showman, charlatan (make up your own mind which) Harry Price. Set between the 1920s and the 40s, it takes us to a world where the relatives of those who fell in the First World War are exploited by false(?) mediums. These are hunted down in turn by the indefatigable Price. But Price has a problem. He is being supported and his "laboratory" accommodated by the Spiritualist movement, whose pet mediums he keeps debunking. So it may seem very convenient when an opportunity arises to investigate a serious haunting. Might Price (who was a real person), and his assistant, Sarah Grey (who wasn't) encounter something much darker and much nastier than they expect?

Based on real events, the story is told, mainly, by Grey, in a dusty manuscript found years after the events it narrates. It has received lavish praise. But is it really any good? I don't like to have to dissent from the general positive tone of most reviews, but I had big problems with this story. I feel it's best seen as two different books, one rather mundane, the other more effective.

The first part, following what actually goes on at Borley, seemed rather plodding. Frankly, nothing much happens. Spring moves his characters to Borley and back, introduces a journalist, Vernon Wall (another real person) to inject some tension, and tries to animate a conflict between Wall, Price and Grey. It just didn't convince. For example, there is a scene where Wall leaves Borley for London and Grey apparently faces a choice - him or Price? That is referred back to repeatedly in the book and is apparently a key emotional episode to all three. But somehow the writing never matches up to the importance of the moment so through the rest of the book I simply became more and more puzzled as to why everyone behaved as they did.

It doesn't help that the writing is, in places, rather garbled. For example, consider this description of a haunting:

"...One night, Marianne found pebbles behind her pillow; another time, just outside the Blue Room, she was struck in her face by some unseen force only to be turned out of bed, three weeks later, three times in one night!"

Struck in her face by some unseen force - horrible. Turned out of bed three times in one night - ghastly. But there are three weeks between the two events, yet Spring has crammed them together as though one followed immediately on the other. This just reads as odd.

Spring has clearly carried out an admirable amount of research, which he often deploys with skill - but in other places, and this is one, it looks as though he's simply dumped the content of his notebooks into the story without much attempt to edit it. Another example of this is towards the end of the book, where there is confusion about who owns the Rectory then - we are told that in the 1940s the Rectory was about to be disposed of "by the Rector" so that Price had to act quickly with his investigations, then that (earlier) it had been sold to a Captain Gregson, who filed an insurance claim only to have it rejected. I realise this may seem picky, but glitches like these bring the reader (well, me) up sharp and make it hard to stay in the book.

Another problem is the numerous phrases ("video camera", "glamour modelling", "photo shoots", "State-of-the-art", "I like unconventional", "hijacked my thoughts", "the Rectory is in lockdown") which belong more in the 2000s than the 1920s or 30s. There are howlers such as "mitigated against" (for "militated") and - in a book that features Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! - Sherlock Holmes's famous saying "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth" is misquoted as "when you have eliminated the improbable..." making it into a nonsense. All this is, I think, simply poor editing. It is a shame when an author is let down by stuff like that: the point of editing a book is to pick up things which the author, having read the text over and over, simply can't spot any longer.

For all these reasons, I found it very hard to keep going with this book through the first two thirds. I didn't believe the characters, I kept tripping over the writing, and not much happened.

I have to say the book does improve though as the story moves on, it becomes less an account of "bumps in the night" (flying bars of soap, heaving tables and the like) and turns into something more subtle and chilling. It is difficult to say more about what happens without giving away the plot, but on balance I think it's worth persevering through the first section for the sake of the ending and based on this book I'd judge that Spring is much better at writing fiction than fictionalising real events - the later plot developments are largely imagined and much less based on the "facts" of Borley (whatever they really are!) with less occasion for notebook-dumps. In fact I think if you took the last hundred pages or so of the book, rewrote it as a novella (the ideal length, perhaps, for this sort of ghost story) with a little context at the start, and proofread it drastically, you'd get a much better book.

That gives me a dilemma in rating the book. If I had to judge the first part on its own, I would award it no more than two stars. For the ending, I'd give four. So overall - three stars.

Neil Spring is a promising author. I hope he writes more, hopefully out-and-out fiction, and that in future his books are better edited.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky!, 19 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
The Ghost Hunters

This book must be read!
Being mainly about Borley Rectory, my girlfriend brought me this awesome novel as she knew I was interested in Borley and all that happened there. I have done many hours research on the place, with five visits there, all of which were strange to say the least. But I am certain that the supernatural exists there, parallel to this world.
This book gives a solid account of what might have happened there between the 1920's and 1940's. With interesting characters, some of which are real, you are transformed into the heart of the action, which is a thrilling and sometimes scary read with superb description and depth.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can honestly say that it is the best novel I have ever read! I could not sleep, thinking about the story, wanting to read on, the girlfriend regretted buying it as she could not sleep for my bedside lamp being on all night!
I have read the other reviews and I know this one isnt very well written, without many long words and terrible grammar, but it is the truth. I have never done a review before, but I honestly loved this book, I HIGHLY recommend it.
Thanks for reading my first, I am no longer a review virgin. BUY THIS BOOK!!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Hunters, 24 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
I would not normally read stories about ghosts, but this new novel impressed me. The author's passion for the paranormal and vivid writing style brought the eerie events at Borley Rectory to life in a way I had not anticipated. I think the book will appeal across age groups, and I have just ordered another copy as a present for my grandmother!
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost Hunters, 26 May 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
In 1977 Dr Robert Caxton is given a portfolio of documents by John Wesley, the retiring curator of a collection of phenomenological objects. The documents narrate the story told by Sarah Grey. In 1926 Sarah Grey, who lost her father at the end of the Great War, finds herself visiting a spiritualist meeting with her mother, who for some reason of her own seems to be looking to get some sign from her departed husband. There she meets Harry Price, an investigator into spiritualist and psychic happenings. Shortly after, she is offered a job as Price’s assistant and takes it. By 1929, Sarah is relishing her role and the opportunities offered in it; but the remembrance of the letter she read on her first day regarding the haunting of Borley Rectory remains with her.

Much of the narrative of this book is focused around Borley Rectory; as the front cover of the book advises us the MOST HAUNTED HOUSE in England. Unfortunately, the hauntedness of this house was not in the least frightening, spooky, thrilling, worrying, scary, chilling or indeed even mildly startling. Things go bump in the night, misty figures scud across the lawn … That, coupled with rather clunky writing means that this book really fails in instilling in the reader any sense of suspense or tension. The narrative in the book takes place over several decades, and it’s hard to see why. The characters are rather flat and dull. Sadly, while this book has the germ of a great idea somewhere in it, overall the book has been over-sold and has vastly under-delivered. If you feel in an uncritical and ‘entertain me’ mood, then by all means read it. If you’re looking for something spooky, I’d recommend looking for something by Jonathan Aycliffe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating interpretation of Borley Rectory and Harry Price, 19 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
A really enjoyable read throughout and keeping fairly closely to the facts of the Borley Rectory Haunting. Plenty of insights into Harry Price which may or may not be true depending on one's angle. A thought-provoking conclusion to the book is followed by a very worthy list of material that departed from primary sources e.g. changing names, order of events etc. for artistic license. I have some knowledge of this case and can recommend this book to anyone interested.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy in parts... but a bit long-winded at the end., 19 April 2014
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This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book about Borley Rectory (the most haunted house in England!) and Harry Price's investigation of it, his personal life and his (fictional) involvement with his secretary, Sarah Grey. Told from the viewpoint of Sarah, the story is genuinely creepy in parts and there is some really fine writing in here. I loved the parts that focussed on the rectory itself and I really enjoyed the evocation of England between the war years. However, in my opinion, it is just a tad over-long - the story stretches on and on and by the final stage I was getting just a tiny bit sick of it. The final part could just have done with tightening up a bit and not being quite so waffly. On the whole, I must stress, I did enjoy this book, but I felt that it just got a bit longwinded at the end. Don't want to do the same thing with my review, so I'll end it there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It went on for far too long, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
I bought this in kindle format to read of an evening whilst holidaying in a Cornish cottage with the wind whistling round the house. It started off very well and the investigations into Borley Rectory were quite fun - even though we all know the whole thing is a load of hokum.

However, I got the feeling that Mr Spring didn't quite know how to end his tale and the last hundred or so pages seemed to be travelling all around the proverbial houses without reaching any satisfactory conclusion. The years passing by and the 'Dark Lady' continually moving closer and closer to our narrator and her dear Mama all seemed decidedly feeble and rather poorly done.

An entertaining yarn (at least the first half) but 'must try harder' next time. "The Seance" by John Harwood was a far better tale!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost Hunters, 29 Oct 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Kindle Edition)
This novel merges fact and fiction in an absorbing and evocative ghost story. Harry Price (1881-1948) was a real psychic researcher; a sceptic renowned for exposing fake spiritualists and best known for his investigation into Borley Rectory, called `the most haunted house in England." In this book, an academic is given a manuscript by Miss Sarah Grey, which tells the story of Price's investigation into Borley Rectory. Miss Grey was a young woman whose father had died in the first world war and who lived with her mother. Like many of her generation, her mother looked for answers in spiritualism, which flourished after the war, capitalising on grief. Sarah and her mother attend a meeting with Mr Price, after which she is fascinated by both him and his work. Before long, she has become his assistant and her life is changed forever.

This story takes place over some years, following Price's work looking at mediums and at the unfolding story of Borley Rectory and the visits made there by him and Sarah Grey, as well as journalist Vernon Wall and the changing inhabitants of the Rectory. Those of you who enjoy horror books may find this a little tame - but it is perfectly pitched for those who enjoy a more old fashioned ghost story. The characters are sympathetic, the events at the Rectory both creepy and sensational and neither those in the book, nor the readers, are sure what to believe. My main complaint with most ghost stories are the endings, which are often either tame or unbelievable, but the author manages to finish the book well and bring about a sense of completion. Overall, I found this very impressive - it would make a wonderful book for a reading group too, which much to discuss and is a perfect Halloween treat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 23 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
I bought this for my Mum, who loved it. She then gave it to me... and I loved it too.It is a novel, and not a true account of what Harry Price got up to! I loved the ending - which I hope sets up an opening for a follow up novel...? Pure escapism - recommended by me!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ho hum, 17 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
An easy if rather slow and plodding read. A number of others have drawn attention to the standard and quality of the writing, my gripe was the use of words which were not in use when the action takes place and seemed to jump off the page enough for me to have to check, the likes of Shakespeare often having often got there long before most of us would imagine. However, not with P32 set in 1926 "Even video cameras", or P149 set in 1929 ".....the Rectory is on lockdown" Both of which can not claim origin until the 1940s, and not in the generally accepted use until the late 1970s. Not important in the scheme of things, but if they jarred on my casual reading, why were they not picked up on before publication?
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The Ghost Hunters
The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring (Paperback - 24 Oct 2013)
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