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Summary

A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions.

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, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one.... 

An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling listen this winter.
 

©2018 W. C. Ryan (P)2018 Bonnier Publishing

Critic reviews

"Almost unbearably creepy and beautifully written." (Liz Nugent, best-selling author of Lying in Wait)

"A splendid tale of wartime skullduggery, featuring both kinds of spooks - perfect fireside reading." (Mick Herron, CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning author of Dead Lions

"Hugely enjoyable, A House of Ghosts has the bones of a taut thriller wrapped up in the gorgeous romance of its ghostly island setting." (Jane Casey)

What listeners say about A House of Ghosts

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Winter Cracker

A great book and listen. I don't usually enjoy books with war as a subject matter but this was so much more and I'm glad I gave it a go. There's wonderful characters, intrigue, suspense, mystery, romance and a bit of supernatural. All this plus it takes place in a house with secret passages that's been cut off from the world by storms, what's not to love. Very atmospheric, well written and narrated. I'm hoping for a second book with Kate and Donovan but it will be tough to follow up this one.

11 people found this helpful

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I want more

Fantastic story. I did find the narrators voices for the different characters a little grating at time but it didn’t distract me too much from the mystery of the spirit laden island.
I want more of Kate and Donovan, so I hope William Ryan is currently penning the sequel.

10 people found this helpful

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a good listen

good narrator..really quite scary in places..glad I listened. would recommend if you like the supernatural

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A good start but boring tale

TLDR: Read the first 10 pages and the last 10 pages the rest is a waste of time.

The idea of the story is good, what if ghosts can come back from beyond the grave to talk to their loved ones.
Unfortunately the story decides very quickly that ghosts are real and the several people in the house can see them.
That removes the supernatural element as being remotely relevant to the plot.


Then we get to the "Murder" which is barely dealt with at all. No working out alibis, no gathering clues , no legwork to track down an explanation of events. Oh dear.

Then we have the pastiche of espionage.
Is someone in the house a spy? Who knows the plot certainly doesn't dwell on it for long.

In short a promising setup ruined by cardboard characters (a flighty female sidekick, a patriotic arms producer and a pair of am-dram level mediums), a plotline that can't decide if it's a mystery, a ghostly tale of suspense, a spy thriller or a third rate war adventure.
The story lurches from stock cliche to stock cliche and never gets properly going.

4 people found this helpful

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Good listen

Good all round book, I did listen to the end - which for me is unusual, good characters but I think a little more could have been done with them. Not as good as The Inspector Hobb series, Sydney Grice, Inspector Grey or Rosie Strange only because the characters were not as well padded. Hope that makes sense. But good.

3 people found this helpful

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Agatha Christy-esq murder mystery

Absolutely loved this story.
It’s part ghost story,part murder mystery,part World War One thriller.
The two main characters are quite endearing as are the rest of the characters, a wicked old German woman, some soldiers and some officers, some frivolity and some ptsd all in the best possible British humour and guns ho spirit. I wanted it to go on forever.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys WW1 history, spy novels, Agatha Christy fans or anyone who has never read a spy novel or a murder mystery or a good old ghost story but wants to try them out.
I really enjoyed both listening to this and reading it. I like the narrator doing all the different voices. Some of which made me giggle!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Almost a really really good book.

A country house mystery set during the Great War with both supernatural and government spooks- what’s not to like? Shades of a contemporary Dennis Wheatley.
In the first half, the sense of time and place was beautifully drawn, and the characters were distinct and intriguing.
But the second half lost momentum as the ghosts were relegated to mere onlookers in a wartime drama. Such a shame.
I love the narrator (since Evelyn Hardcastle) but Kate needed a more clipped Celia Johnson accent.

2 people found this helpful

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very entertaining and well read

not exactly a ghost story but ironically with more ghosts than most books. i enjoyed the ww1 angle on an old fashioned british country house mystery all in all well worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Entertaining tale of spooks

The reading is excellent by Jot Davies. There are many ghosts, but they are not in the least frightening. This is essentially a romance between two characters who work for the secret service during the First World War. There’s lots of potential here, and eventually a murder, but there are some cliches too. A house on an island cut off in a storm, riddled with secret passages. Some of the period atmosphere works, but this isn’t Susan Hill or ‘Turn of the Screw’. Saved by an excellent reader as an audio book .

1 person found this helpful

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Boring

Boring, cliched who dunnit . I dont know how this got published. The plot was all over the place.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Marleen
  • Marleen
  • 30-05-19

Wonderful story, great narration.

As wonderful spoken as it was to read. Hearing the accents really added to the story.