A House of Ghosts

A House of Ghosts

by W. C. Ryan

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Overview

Finalist for the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction Book of the Year, a Classic Cozy Big-House Mystery Haunted by the Specters of World War One—For Readers of Agatha Christie and Simone St. James

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives. At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, armaments manufacturer Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons, both of whom died at the front.

Among the guests, two have been secretly dispatched from the intelligence service: Kate Cartwright, a friend of the family who lost her beloved brother at the Somme and who, in the realm of the spiritual, has her own special gift; and the mysterious Captain Donovan, recently returned from Europe. Top secret plans for weapons developed by Lord Highmount’s company have turned up in Berlin, and there is reason to believe enemy spies will be in attendance. As the guests arrive, it becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends, they find themselves trapped on the island. Soon one of their number will die. For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . . .

An unrelenting, gripping mystery, packed with twists and turns and a kindling of romance, A House of Ghosts is the perfect cold-weather read.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948924719
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 269,461
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

W. C. Ryan is also known as William Ryan, who has won acclaim for his historical crime novels in the Captain Korolev series. The first book, The Holy Thief, was shortlisted for a Crime Writers' Association’s New Blood Dagger, a Barry Award, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, and the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year. The second, The Bloody Meadow, was shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year, and the third, The Twelfth Department, was also shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year as well as the CWA’s Historical Fiction Dagger and was a Guardian Crime Novel of the Year. His books have been published in eighteen countries. William lives in London and teaches creative writing at City University.

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A House of Ghosts 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Mary_Russell 7 days ago
And Then There Were None meets WWI spy story. The title is very apt, however, i was anticipating this to be much spookier than it was. I liked the two main characters and the plot was great. I can't wait to read more by this author!
Anonymous 7 days ago
I am not usually a big reader of historical mysteries but I love gothic and this one sounded so intriguing: WW 1, set in an isolated island retreat with a touch of the supernatural. I highly enjoyed it. I loved the 2 main characters and if this is the first in a series with them I will definitely read the next one. The only reason I didn’t give it 4 stars is that around the 60% mark it did drag a tiny bit but overall I am glad I read it. If you enjoy historical, cozy, and/or British mysteries then I think you will like this book. ** thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the arc I received in an exchange for an honest review**
diane92345 8 days ago
House of Ghosts sounds like an Agatha Christie plot. As World War I battles a world away, a house party is gathering at a mysterious old house on an English island. The goal is to use mediums to raise the spirits of the owners’ two sons—both dead in the war. Throw in mysteries, lies, secret plans, spies, a storm cutting the island off from the mainland and of course murder and you have a plot reminiscent of the finest golden-age British mystery. Just as with the older stories, House of Ghosts meanders quite a bit before getting to the meat of the story. Also, if you are looking for a ghost story or a spy story, this is not a good choice. But if you don’t mind a leisurely mystery where literally everyone has a motive, this is an excellent choice for a few hours of entertainment by being transported to a difficult time in humankind’s history. 4 stars! Thanks to Arcade, Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Annette5151 9 days ago
I love ghost stories and this felt like an old favorite! It would be perfect to curl up with on a dark rainy day! I enjoyed the story and hope there’s more with Kate and Donovan! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
Jantine 9 days ago
I must admit, this was not the easiest book for me to read. I don't think it is because of the book itself though, it is rather that I had my mind wander off way too easily, so I gave it the star rating it should have instead of how much I enjoyed it - which would probably have been 3 or 4 stars instead of 5, but I think that would not have been fair. The overal atmosphere in this book was great. There were ghosts and suspence, combined with a typical social structure for the era. Think ghost-whodunnit with a hint of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. I also think it brought across the horrors of WW1 in a real way, without them becoming too vivid. (As a reference: I got horrid nightmares from 'Nothing New in the West', which I luckily did not get from this book, but the references to the war came over just as real) The outcome ... was one I could and, I believe, should have expected, but somehow I was put on the wrong path all the time. Which is exactly how I like books like these.
Tammy_Bellflower 10 days ago
A fun mystery and suspense throughout to sit back, relax and go with the flow. I loved the detailed scenes, characters, and cover. Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest rating/review.
JeanK 13 days ago
An impending storm, an island location, a seance, a manor home that was once an abbey, complete with secret passages, and a body provide a mystery that will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie. Kate Cartwright works for the War Office in 1917. When top secret weapon plans are found in Berlin, she is sent to Blackwell Abbey along with Captain Donovan to investigate. The abbey is owned by Lord Highmount, an armaments manufacturer who lost both of his sons in the war. As old friends of the family, Kate and her parents were invited to attend a seance where Lady Highmount is hoping to contact their sons. Kate’s own brother is missing and presumed dead, giving her an added incentive to attend. While Donovan doesn’t believe in communicating with the dead, Kate knows better. She is able to observe spirits that inhabit the abbey. Lord Highmount has plans of his own to trap the person responsible for the stolen plans. His guests include a number of people who knew of or had access to the plans. When Lady Highmount is attacked and the phones are sabotaged, Kate knows that time is running out. As the storm rages, the tension mounts to a final confrontation that you will not see coming. Like Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs and MacNeal’s Maggie Hope, Kate Cartwright is a strong character that you will look forward to seeing again. I would like to thank NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for providing this book for review in exchange for an honest review.
suekitty13 14 days ago
This book far exceeded my high expectations This murder mystery set in a haunted house on an isolated island takes place during WWI. That one sentence contains pretty well all my favourite elements so I had high hopes for this book. It did not disappoint and in fact far exceeded my high expectations. The setting is absolute perfection. Creepy, remote and chock full of history. There is a paranormal element to the story as spiritualists and seances were all the rage at the time as families tried to contact their dead loved ones who had perished in the war. I found that this aspect was very well done and I truly felt the pain and anguish of those left behind. Imagine the surprise of a fraudulent spiritualist when an actual ghost answers their call! The mystery was suspenseful and surprising and I did not figure it out until the culprit was revealed. I completely loved the main characters, Kate and Donovan. Their relationship starts with some resistance on both sides as they are assigned to work together as spies but things get a bit flirty and it grows into more through the story. Their budding romance was one of the most satisfying parts, and I’m not generally into romance at all. I think it was the banter of two strong, clever characters, evenly matched and both slightly cantankerous that got to me. I’m very pleased that the ending suggests the possibility of more cases for this duo and I sincerely hope this becomes a long series because I want more! Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
suekitty13 14 days ago
This book far exceeded my high expectations This murder mystery set in a haunted house on an isolated island takes place during WWI. That one sentence contains pretty well all my favourite elements so I had high hopes for this book. It did not disappoint and in fact far exceeded my high expectations. The setting is absolute perfection. Creepy, remote and chock full of history. There is a paranormal element to the story as spiritualists and seances were all the rage at the time as families tried to contact their dead loved ones who had perished in the war. I found that this aspect was very well done and I truly felt the pain and anguish of those left behind. Imagine the surprise of a fraudulent spiritualist when an actual ghost answers their call! The mystery was suspenseful and surprising and I did not figure it out until the culprit was revealed. I completely loved the main characters, Kate and Donovan. Their relationship starts with some resistance on both sides as they are assigned to work together as spies but things get a bit flirty and it grows into more through the story. Their budding romance was one of the most satisfying parts, and I’m not generally into romance at all. I think it was the banter of two strong, clever characters, evenly matched and both slightly cantankerous that got to me. I’m very pleased that the ending suggests the possibility of more cases for this duo and I sincerely hope this becomes a long series because I want more! Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
Tangen 14 days ago
ghosts, paranormal, war-is-hell, WW2, murder, England, fraud, military-intelligence, romantic ***** It was a dark and stormy winter solstice in 1917 on the island off the Devon coast. Despite all the ghosts, it's all very business-like til the last quarter when a bit of romance wriggles in. Kate is rescued from an important but boring job in decoding by the head of a rather sketchy government department and told to rescind both her invitation regrets and her recently dropped fiance to join her parents and attend a house party/séance in hope of reassurance regarding those missing in action in France. Kate knows she can see ghosts and things but it's not spoken of. Despite the evil winter storm there are several people there for the séance as well as another undercover person. The mansion was once an abbey, and the hidden passages figure highly in this twisty plot full of red herrings. I loved it! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Skyhorse Publishing/Arcade via NetGalley. Thank you!
jjthor 14 days ago
An enjoyable read! It is written in the agatha christie style and keeps you guessing what is going to happen . It is set at the end of WW1 with a group of people with different agendas stuck by weather at a House with ghosts and secrets. Plenty of twists to keep it interesting. A slower read but still very good.
MamaHendo 15 days ago
With England deep into the First World War the Highmounts, like many other families, are reeling from the loss of their two sons. Wishing to hear from them one more time, Lord & Lady Highmount have invited a specially selected group of people to their isolated island off the coast of Devon for a unique gathering. Their home, Blackwater Abbey is unlike any place you have been before. The estate is known to be haunted by ghosts from long ago, a setting perfect for the weekend's planned seances. Kate Cartwright, a long time friend of the family has been convinced to accept her invitation to attend by her boss in the intelligence service. Accompanying her will be another member of the military, undercover as a manservant. Plans for top secret weapons designed by Lord Highmount's company have fallen into the German's hands and Kate's boss believes that the guilty party will be in attendance this weekend. Kate and Donovan have been tasked to figure out who has betrayed their country. The mediums the Highmounts have hired for the seance aren't the only ones that are able to contact the spirit world. Kate has a secret gift of her own, one that will come in handy as she attempts to solve the mysteries that Blackwater holds within its walls. William Ryan has written an absolute page-turner! A murder-mystery at its core, "A House of Ghosts", is told from multi-POVs so the reader doesn't miss a beat of what is happening while the living are stranded for the weekend in the company of the dead. A must read for all suspense/mystery fans! A big thanks to NetGalley and Arcade Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. for an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.