Monday, 30 August 2010

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Anatomy of Ghosts - Andrew Taylor

Release Date: 02/09/10


1786, Jerusalem College Cambridge. The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumoured to be haunting Jerusalem since disturbed fellow-commoner, Frank Oldershaw, claims to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds. Desperate to salvage her son's reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts - a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion - to investigate. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts an uneasy status quo as he glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr Carbury, ever could. And when Holdsworth finds himself haunted - not only by the ghost of his dead wife, Maria, but also Elinor, the very-much-alive Master's wife - his fate is sealed. He must find Sylvia's murderer or the hauntings will continue. And not one of them will leave the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem unchanged.


As a huge reader of the genre, there are times when you wonder what you have let yourself in for as new novels blaze their own way across the preconceived mythos that has gone before. Such is the case with this new offering by Andrew Taylor. It has touches of a good mystery, masterful use of dialogue and backed up with a layer of misdirection that will keep you guessing for a long time. Within this offering, you get flavours of authors like Christie and Doyle, which really makes this a tale to savour. Back that up with reasonable characters who explore the world in much the same way as we do and you know that you’ve gotten something a little different, which at times, can mean a lot more than staying to the same flavours.

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