Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ghostwalk, by Rebecca Stott

Ghostwalk is an intriguing first novel by British historian Rebecca Stott. It is a compelling mixture of contemporary romance, ghost story, historical novel, and Da Vinci Code intrigue. I also was reminded of The Turn of the Screw’s play of psychological breakdown versus paranormal theme.

In essence, Lydia Brooke, an academic and author, is asked to finish a book started by the recently deceased mother of her former lover on Isaac Newton and his involvement in alchemy. Stott vividly describes, in brief bursts, life during Newton’s time in Cambridge. The old and new are constantly interwoven until the moment Stott reveals why murders in Newton’s time and contemporary murders might be related. For example, in what appears to be a deliberate counterpoint to the mother’s obsession with the crumbling papers of the 17th century, her son compulsively uses his cell phone to text message people, including Lydia.

I looked online for critiques and author interviews after reading this book. A common complaint is the number of genres Stott crosses to present her story. I, on the other hand, found the achievement masterful.

Finally, despite the scenes which seem to definitively state which way the author wants you to go in the breakdown v. paranormal decision, the reader must remember that the book is told in the first person.

(Currently available in hard cover only.)

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