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Summary

1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge. The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumoured to be haunting Jerusalem, since disturbed fellow-commoner, Frank Oldershaw, claims to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds.

Desperate to salvage her son’s reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion to investigate. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts an uneasy status quo as he glimpses a world of privilege and abuse.

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.

©2010 Lydmouth Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good book, brilliantly read.

I'm a great fan of Andrew Taylor and although his writing varies from book to book i've never been disappointed and this book proves no exception. Taylor is exceptional at bringing to life the period he is is writing about whether it be 1950's/60's or as in this case the late 18th Century. The story is further enhanced by the excellent narration of John Telfer. I wouldn't hesitate to recomend this book, in fact i'm going to buy it in paperback for my sisters birthday.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent listen

This is vintage Andrew Taylor, with well-drawn characters and a satisfying plot. I felt totally engrossed by the 18th century background (the sights, sounds, smells and topography of London and Cambridge). Taylor's meticulous historical research is evident on every page, and yet he never allows his learning to create a barrier between the 21st century reader and his absorbing story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

The Anatomy of Ghosts

I expected better from this book. Although the story is quite good it's predictable and there are a number of historical inaccuracies. The attempt at romance is sadly lacking. The characters stand out well but it certainly didn't leave me wanting to listen to it again.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Enfield, United Kingdom
  • 12-07-16

the atmosphere was palpable

Any additional comments?

great story- I felt as if I inhabited the world in which the book was written, I could smell the rain and feel the anxiety and feel the darkness and the candlelight. well done great story

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • Coventry, United Kingdom
  • 15-11-11

Thoroughly enjoyable

The combination of Andrew Taylor's brilliant writing and characterization, combined with John Telfer's sublime reading made this an absolute joy. I'm always glad of a book with whose characters I can fully engage, and I certainly could with this.

This was one of those books that I could not bear to hit the stop key on!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annie
  • Todmorden, United Kingdom
  • 29-05-11

Atmospheric and fascinating

I became lost in another world whilst I was listening to this. I thoroughly enjoyed the landscape of the story with its Rembrandt-esque colours and richly drawn characters. It is dark, but not without humour, and John Telfer's excellent narration does justice to this gripping story. It is slow-paced, leisurely almost, in keeping with the period; you can almost hear the clop of hooves on wet cobblestones. More than a ghost story it is a peek at the lives of those cloistered in a place of learning in the late 18th century, their superstitions, ambitions and machinations. Absorbing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable, but not his best

I have read or listened to a couple of other Andrew Taylor novels. The characters here are believable and the historical setting is interesting.
I enjoyed the story but felt that it came to a rather hasty conclusion.
The narration is excellent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book

I really did enjoy this book, the characters were strong enough for me to like or dislike them as appropriate - and I 'cared' what happened to them.

The story line was very interesting, and held my attention - making me 'worry' about the ill intent of the malefactors.

This is my first 'Andrew Taylor' read - and I will look for others by this author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Bit of a pot boiler.

I found this novel interesting but flawed. The prose is better than average, and I'm sure the depiction of the historical era and events is based on some research, but the plot was a bit silly. I just couldn't believe the main plot; it seemed far too over the top. I'm sure there is some grounding in an historical event, but in the book, it seemed too much. I also got a bit irriated by the obsession with the 'carnal act' that the main characters had, it was unsublte and made me laugh at times, which was, I suspect, not the author's intention.
The main character is interesting, and his story line was the only thing of real depth and intelligence. I listened till the end, but will immediately delete the book from my ipod, rather than keep it to listen again at some point. so, in my opinion, worth a listen, if you are looking for a different type of detective novel, but with a silly plot that spoils a good idea. I read a lot of detective fiction, and the standard varies hugely, this is better than average, but yet again, women (some of them very young indeed, in fact not adults at all!) get some very bad treatment in this book. If Audible were to start an age suitability rating scheme, I would expect this book to have a 14+ rating, at the very least. If there was less gratuitous description and more subltly, then it would have been better. If you want a modern take on the Jane Austen era then the zombie version of Pride and Perjudice is far better!

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A good book elevated by the narration

If you could sum up The Anatomy of Ghosts in three words, what would they be?

Good not great

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

There were a number of different plot threads some more interesting than others. Included to a greater or lesser extent there was a murder mystery, a pre-regency romance, academic infighting, upper class excesses, 18th century treatment of lunatics and a ghost story. Unfortunately the multiplicity of plot lines and themes resulted in a slightly unfocussed volume and a rushed ending.

Any additional comments?

Much the best element of the book was the superlative narration by John Telfer. Without this it would have been a very much less enjoyable experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful