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A House of Ghosts: A Gripping Murder Mystery…
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A House of Ghosts: A Gripping Murder Mystery Set in a Haunted House (udgave 2019)

af W. C. Ryan (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
12616166,876 (3.53)3
"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 oné--Provided by publisher.… (mere)
Medlem:ktswjw
Titel:A House of Ghosts: A Gripping Murder Mystery Set in a Haunted House
Forfattere:W. C. Ryan (Forfatter)
Info:Arcade Crimewise (2019), 315 pages
Samlinger:Kindle eBooks
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:read

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A House of Ghosts af W.C. Ryan

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In the winter of 1917 a house party meets at Blackwater Abbey, the residence of arms manufacturer Francis Highmount, to try to contact the spirits of Highmount's two sons who died during the war. Among the guests is an army captain on a secret mission, a War Office clerk who can see ghosts and the clerk's former fiancé, an army captain from the Ordnance Department, whose presence at the abbey has been requested by the head of the Secret Intelligence Services. After their arrival a severe winter storm hits the island and the members of the house party are cut off from the mainland. Soon they find out that the abbey is haunted not only by the spirits of the dead ...

I really wanted to like this: a haunted house story set during the First World War – what's not to like? Unfortunately the story devised as a genre mix of paranormal mystery, spy thriller and historical novel doesn't work, the characters – with the exception of Captain Donovan – are colourless and insubstantial, much like the spirits themselves, and the ending is rushed and leaves several questions unanswered, while the prose is mediocre at best. There is virtually no sense of threat or creepiness until very late in the book, and at times the presence of the spirits seemed unintentionally comical. I thought the plot device of Kate Cartwright's FitzAubrey mirror, which can show events in the future and the past, was a particularly poor choice. I made it to the end, but it wasn't worth it. ( )
  passion4reading | May 29, 2020 |
I saw William Ryan at the Spirits in the Material World panel at Newcastle Noir 2019 and was riveted by his conversation and his amazing Irish accent. As I'm partial to a bit of supernatural spookiness I promptly added him to my 'must read' list, so when I saw that A House of Ghosts was being published, I was chomping at the bit to read it. I read it over the course of 24 hours and could quite easily have read it in one sitting if I didn't have to eat or sleep.

Firstly, I have to mention the eye-catching and mesmerising cover of A House of Ghosts. The screen doesn't do it justice as the gold foiling on the paperback catches the light and kept tempting me to touch it, which I couldn't help myself doing. Book strokers of the world unite! When I could finally tear my eyes away from the cover, I was delighted to find a map in the front of the book. I'm a bit of map geek so I love things like this; it really helps to set the scene, although it's not necessary to keep referring to it throughout the book.

With the first world war raging across Europe, many young men were destined never to return home. Officially 'missing in action', families would never know when or how many of their loved ones died. Lord Highmount sent two sons off to war and neither returned so he arranges a seance in the hope that one or both of his sons will make contact. With a variety of psychics and mediums called to attend, you have to wonder if any of them are genuine or are they up to their famous tricks of manipulating the grief-stricken? Two guests are on a secret mission to find out.

This haunting gothic tale has all the hallmarks of a marvellous whodunnit by Agatha Christie with the dark brooding setting of a Daphne du Maurier novel. I loved the dynamic between the two main characters of Kate and Donovan and I was very intrigued by what I liked to refer to as Kate's magic mirror. At the heart of the story is the harrowing effect of war, both on those who experienced it at the front line and those left behind at home. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like for so many young men to never return home, often wiping out the youths from whole families and villages. I recall my Grandad saying that he was only one of two young men who returned to their village in Wales at the end of World War II, then he promptly upped sticks and moved to the North East leaving only one young man in the village - I bet he was popular with the ladies!

I really enjoyed A House of Ghosts, it has so many threads running through it to keep me intrigued and they all tie up nicely at the end. It has all the makings of a classic novel and one that will definitely go on the 'to read again' list; I'm already planning to chill my bones with another visit to Blackwater Abbey on a dark winter's night in the not too distant future.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion. ( )
  Michelle.Ryles | Mar 9, 2020 |
As a teenager, I loved reading Gothic suspense novels. I couldn't get enough of the creepy old houses, atmospheric settings, and (often) searches for treasure. W.C. Ryan's A House of Ghosts fits into the Gothic suspense genre beautifully. Blackwater Abbey is hundreds of years old, the site of an ancient monastery, and it is absolutely filled with secret doors, rooms, and passageways. I wish the place were real so I could wander around it myself. The atmosphere was tense, and when the storm descended, it added to the frayed nerves of the people in the house: "It seemed as though the house and the wind were having a conversation" (and it wasn't a good one).

The two main characters, Kate Cartwright and Captain Donovan, were strong, intelligent people who were quick thinkers in dangerous situations-- even when sparks flew between them. Kate, like many of the women in her family, could see ghosts. Just see them, not talk with them, and she also had the FitzAubrey glass, an ancient mirror that women in her family could use to glimpse the future.

One of the elements of A House of Ghosts that really ratcheted up the suspense was the presence of ghosts. Around the pier on the island, the spirits of the drowned collected. In Blackwater Abbey, home of a man who made his fortune in munitions, dead soldiers kept gathering-- and the house already contained the spirits of many of its former residents. Yes, the ghosts were a strong force in the book, and they led me to believe that the ending was going to be explosive... but it wasn't. They were used and then discarded, almost as though the author didn't want his novel dismissed as a mere lightweight ghost story.

However, even though I found the ending to be a slight letdown, I still really enjoyed A House of Ghosts. Ryan left a suggestion at the end that may mean there will be at least one more book featuring Cartwright and Donovan, and I hope there is. ( )
  cathyskye | Dec 9, 2019 |
a miss for me ( )
  JennyNau10 | Dec 7, 2019 |
The usual who-dun-it, with so many characters who have motives that it all becomes a little confusing. I also listened to this on audio, which may partly explain my confusion. But thought this is the sort of mystery that you can guess at the conclusion, the reader is not given all of the information necessary to actually solve the mystery. There are also some acts of sabotage that take place, and I am pretty sure the reader is never told who committed them (or if different people did different things).

There is a lot going on in this book, and it isn't all that long. It is nearing the end of World War I, and Kate and Donovan--both working for the UK government, in different capacities--are brought together to attend a weekend at Highmount's. Highmount is a weapons manufacturer who has also lost 2 sons in the war. He is bringing in two foreign mediums to hold seances to attempt to contact those sons or other soldiers. Meanwhile, "C", Donovan and Kate's boss in this scenario, suspects someone who will be attending to be a spy who has stolen weapons information. Donovan, a captain (?), and Kate from the weapons office, are to attend and see if they can figure out who the spy is.

I found the story to be OK. I prefer mysteries the reader can solve because of clues laid out by the author. ( )
  Dreesie | Dec 1, 2019 |
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"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 oné--Provided by publisher.

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