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.
A House of Ghosts is a shiver inducing beautifully written and immersive story – think Agatha Christie meets M.R. James but done in Mr Ryan’s own indomitable style, which if you’ve read “The Constant Soldier” you’ll know is pretty damn fine.
Its a perfectly pitched mystery, set in wartime, a place and time the author brings to descriptively vivid life. The story itself is most excellent, spies and nefarious goings on, in a haunted house cut off by a storm where nobody is being entirely honest.
Our two main protagonists, Kate and “Donovan” are wonderfully drawn and highly engaging plus ghosts. Yes well, it is a house full of them and not necessarily of the other worldly kind.
I loved it, from the claustrophobic and literally haunted setting to the intelligent mystery elements and all the way to the terror filled finale. Oh and there’s some thought provoking truths about that time in our history thrown in for good measure. A story with many layers which is overwhelmingly entertaining throughout.
Lots of brownie points for this one. Don’t be scared. The dead can’t hurt the living…can they?