The Washington Post
The Anatomy of Ghostsby Andrew Taylor
1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge. The ghost of murdered Sylvia Whichcote has been sighted prowling the grounds by Frank Oldershaw, a disturbed fellow commoner. When his anxious mother employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts - a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion - to investigate the sighting, the uneasy status quo at Jerusalem is
1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge. The ghost of murdered Sylvia Whichcote has been sighted prowling the grounds by Frank Oldershaw, a disturbed fellow commoner. When his anxious mother employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts - a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion - to investigate the sighting, the uneasy status quo at Jerusalem is rapidly torn apart. Holdsworth grows to realise that the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs the privileged life at Jerusalem with a rigour far more effective than anything the Master, Dr Carbury, could muster. 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 unravel the circumstances surrounding Sylvia's death ... or the hauntings will continue.
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University life circa 1786.
After his son's accidental drowning and his wife's despairing suicide, London bookseller John Holdsworth is threatened by insolvency. But a commission from Lady Anne Oldershaw to catalog her late husband's library, bequeathed to Cambridge's Jerusalem College, may signal an upturn in his fortunes. Lady Anne adds one stipulation, however. Holdsworth must locate her son Frank and return him home. Holdsworth is duly dispatched to Cambridge, where he's billeted with Lady Anne's goddaughter Elinor and her ailing husband, Dr. Carbury. Holdsworth locates Frank, who's been under the care of a specialist in mental disorders since his induction into Jerusalem College's Holy Ghost Club and subsequent tormenting by the ghost of beautiful, abused Mrs. Whichcote, whose husband Philip heads up the Ghost Club's debaucheries. More scandal threatens Jerusalem: Even as Dr. Carbury is in his death throes, a frisson of lust attacks Elinor every time she thinks of Holdsworth; a promising scholar is accused of thievery; a lackluster student purchases a thesis proposal; and another woman's death can be laid at the Ghost Club's doorstep. Moreover, Holdsworth finds the library collection mostly inconsequential, and his fondness for Elinor seems disloyal to his wife's memory. Before academe settles down again to intellectual pursuits, blackmail, nocturnal trysts and a re-evaluation of a ghost sighting will surface.
Eighteenth-century Cambridge life exquisitely detailed by Taylor, recipient of the Crime Writers Association Cartier Diamond Dagger award (2009).
- Penguin UK
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet 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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