If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Review-The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor has won numerous awards, including CWA’s Cartier’s Diamond Dagger, Ellis Peter’s Historical Dagger and the John Creasey Memorial Award for the Best First Crime Novel, the Martin Beck Award, and he has been nominated for many other awards over his thirty year career. He has authored over twenty-five mystery novels. This review is of his latest book, The Anatomy of Ghosts. E. B. Davis

When it comes to ghosts, nothing much has changed in two hundred years. Taylor sets his story in Cambridge, England at the end of the eighteenth century in a fictitious college. Like the unchanging ghosts, the physical setting also provides continuity. The author advises readers that they may recognize the setting because he modeled it after a real college within the university. These elements remind the reader that the human condition never changes.

The story is primarily a mystery, one of murder, the other a death precipitated by immortal actions. Taylor offers the reader two sketchy scenes of the deaths before he introduces his main character, John Holdsworth—bookbinder, bookseller and printer by trade. The ghosts of his drowned son and wife plague him. After his business fails, he accepts a commission from a wealthy and influential widow whose son, attending college in Cambridge, has gone mad. Her ancestors founded the college, and her two goals for Holdsworth are to bring her son home restored and sane and to assess the college’s library.

Taylor adds romantic complications, lies, political rivalries, and class structure into his well mixed plot. Because these complications rely on human weakness, the reader has no doubt as to their authenticity. Goodness is measured by conscious self-inspection by characters who try to balance their desires against moral outcomes as they make choices. Holdsworth solves the murder by understanding the characters’ emotion and moral landscape. When he unearths the facts and puts his moral assessments of those involved together, he solves the mysteries.

Readers will identify with The Anatomy of Ghosts because the issues remain unchanged—are we to serve for the greater good or will our selfishness destroy those around us? Human conflict and guilt comprise the anatomy of our internal ghosts. But even though Taylor provides evidence that we haunt ourselves, he never proposes that the concept of external spectral spirits is invalid. Ghosts exist, and we will always be haunted.


Pauline Alldred said...

It's interesting that the moral question is whether we serve the common good or allow our selfish interests to destroy those around us. Often, once ghosts enter the picture, evil is externalized and even a person possessed who wants to harm others can't be blamed for his/her actions

E. B. Davis said...

Perhaps Pauline. But many of the ghosts are our own moral guides, either internal or external, reminding us of moral boundaries and keeping us safe. Whether or not ghosts can actually possess us is a question Taylor doesn't answer, just that they may exist. I'm not sure all ghosts are evil. Why they remain here is another question.

Kara Cerise said...

Interesting book! I had an unexplained presence when I was living in a college dorm. My roommate and I saw black whispy shapes, doors opened and closed on their own etc. Later we learned that a previous occupant had committed suicide. So, perhaps our ghost just wanted to be remembered.

E. B. Davis said...

OMG, Kara. And that didn't freak you out? It wouldn't have made me happy at all.

Marilyn Levinson said...

I have the book in my house, which is why I read your review. As soon as I finish the one I'm currently reading, I'll start THE ANATOMY OF GHOSTS.

E. B. Davis said...

You'll like it Marilyn. Taylor writes well and it quite subtle. Nothing substitutes for a good plot and this one is well done.

Warren Bull said...

Nice review of what sounds like a book well worth reading.

Kara Cerise said...

I admit that it was a scary experience, E.B.! My roommate and I did not want to be alone in our room. I heard that those sorts of things happened to other people who lived in that room until the college remodeled the dorm. Then it stopped. Hmmm

E. B. Davis said...

If it isn't the "same" place than maybe the spirit couldn't dwell in it or identify with it or haunt it or...something. Interesting story, though.