Friday, December 31, 2010

ANATOMY OF GHOSTS by Andrew Taylor

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

I like a good period mystery. Especially if there are ghosts involved.  ANATOMY OF GHOSTS seemed to offer the perfect vehicle to entice my interest. Set in Cambridge in 1786, the story follows John Holdsworth, a down-on-his-luck bookseller who recently suffered the losses of both his wife and young son.  His anger at the charlatans who prey on the grieving leads Holdsworth to publish a pamphlet called THE ANATOMY OF GHOSTS which claims that ghosts do not exist. The pamphlet comes to the attention of Lady Anne Oldershaw whose son, a fellow at Jersusalem College, has been driven mad as he claims to have seen a ghost. Lady Anne sends Holdsworth to Cambridge to investigate and see if he can find the truth while restoring her son's reason.

The book was a little slow to get started. I had a hard time getting engaged with the story. However, the mystery ended up working well for me.  The book is filled with details about period college life, secret societies and blackmail. I enjoyed the mystery part of the book but the rest was a little slow. I did like the fact that I didn't figure out the mystery right away but the book was missing something for me.  I can't quite put my finger on it, though.  It's a short book but I find it hard to get through.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended only if you are a fan of period mysteries.  This one can be a little slow but the mystery itself is ultimately rewarding.

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