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The Anatomy of Ghosts Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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.
Not everyone at the university is wealthy. Some of the students, boys on a scholarship, alongside college lecturers survive on a pittance. This impoverished group are further stressed by bullying and class discrimination handed down from the 'higher echelons'.
Into this mix of over indulgence, poverty and eccentricity arrives the character of John Holdsworth a man recently widowed and now on a mission to find and help one of the students, Frank, member of the 'Holy Ghost Club' and son of an aristocratic family. What emerges from here is a story of ghosts, murder and general 'shenanigans' amongst the university population. Is there a female spectre haunting the university?. If so then why?. That's all part of the mystery and the revelations are slowly and satisfyingly worked into the plot.
None of these characters are particularly likeable with most of them out for little more than self indulgence and self promotion. Their university life, due to the era, is almost entirely male and one dimensional. Women are either mothers, wives, employers or ghosts!. A mentally frail boy and his widowed minder have a puzzle to solve before either is fully recovered. Maybe it's too late?.
I enjoyed this book. The historical background is believable. Moments of dark creepiness built a sense of tension which kept me hooked.
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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