The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This historical mystery is, like most of the genre, not particularly gory or dark, although the goings-on of the Holy Ghost Club do take a rather sinister, creepy turn. Set mostly in 18th century Cambridge (UK, not US), in a college, the story of a young man's madness and the question of whether or not he did, indeed, see a ghost one evening in the college grounds is one of the more interesting examples of the genre I've read.
There are several different levels of mystery here, some of which are resolved and some of which are presumed solved but perhaps weren't: what killed Tabitha? who killed Sylvia? did Soresby steal the book? did Frank see Sylvia's ghost? etc.. I liked the fact that for some, there appears to be a solution or explanation but it's not absolutely clear and there could, possibly, be another answer. The bigger question, to me, is whether or not there will be a second book (my hope is not, simply because this is so intricate that in the rush to publish a series something good might be lost).
The author has done a lot of research into the era that you can almost smell Tom Turdman coming. This isn't a cleaned-up peek at the past, nor is it set in the upper-class world where things always look and feel relatively comfortable. Only the speech is modern (not anachronistically so), but writing in an "accent" would distract from the narrative flow.
ARC provided by publisher.
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