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Anatomy of Ghosts

By Andrew Taylor

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ISBN 10: 1401302874
ISBN 13: 9781401302870
432 pages

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1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge

The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumored to be haunting Jerusalem ever since student Frank Oldershaw claimed to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds and was locked up because of his violent reaction to these disturbed visions.

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, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr. Carbury, ever could. And when Holdsworth finds himself haunted—not only by the ghost of his dead wife, Maria, but also by Elinor, the very-much-alive Master’s wife—his fate is sealed. He must find Sylvia’s murderer, or else the hauntings will continue. And not one of this troubled group will leave the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem unchanged.

CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger winner Andrew Taylor returns with an outstanding historical novel that will simultaneously keep the reader riveted, and enchant with its effortless elegance.


“No one brings the past to life like Andrew Taylor. This is a double treat—a taut, psychological thriller coupled with a journey to an exquisitely detailed eighteenth century.”
—Rhys Bowen, Agatha and Anthony–winning author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness historical mysteries

“Despite the malodorous chamber pots, jaded blue bloods, would-be scholars, and dissolute drinking clubs of an often-squalid eighteenth-century Cambridge, Andrew Taylor has fashioned a delicate mystery in which human desire balances idealism on the knife edge of self-interest.  Intelligent and thoroughly entertaining.”
—Margaret Maron, author of Bootlegger’s Daughter and Christmas Mourning

“How to drown and how to live thereafter: that’s what this book is about.  Madness and sanity in the 18th century, where intellectual sophistication lives alongside barbarity in a Cambridge college of scholars, louche young gamblers, invalids, and men who collect the turds.

“Do not ignore a single character in this marvellous book.  Each has his or her place, and every one of them is subversive, by accident or design.  Put this meld into the hands of one of the greatest and most erudite of storytellers, and you have an explosive time bomb of scents and smells, lust and longing, frailty and strength.  Add in the sheer elegance of the prose and you get what you have, a page-turning masterpiece.

“Andrew Taylor is a fine novelist, who happens to be a crime novelist, but he is a novelist first and last, one of the greatest of his generation.”
—Frances Fyfield, winner of Silver and Gold Dagger awards in England, Roman Policiere in France

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Anatomy of Ghosts

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