Cover image for A ghost in the machine
A ghost in the machine
Graham, Caroline, 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, [2004]

Physical Description:
375 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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Material Type
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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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When a bloody, pulverized body is found lying beneath the rustic timbers of an authentic torture device so vicious and complicated as to be blood-curdling, there's sufficient unrest in tiny Forbes Abbot to call in Chief Inspector Barnaby. Was Dennis Brinkley done in by crooked business partners, a teenage seductress, a couple of would-be publishers who've just inherited--and then lost--millions, or perhaps by tired, timid little Benny Fraye, who wouldn't hurt a fly--would she?

Barnaby will soon find out just who set in motion the gruesome machine that crushed the unfortunate victim. Caroline Graham's delightful cozy village mysteries, which inspired the continuing Midsommer Murders series starring Inspector Barnaby on A&E Television, have long been fan-favorites; A Ghost in the Machine is sure to cement her reputation as one of the best crime writers in the mystery business today.

Author Notes

Caroline Graham (born on July 17, 1931 in Nuneaton) is an English playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She attended the Open University, and received a degree in writing for the theatre from the University of Birmingham.

Her first published book was Fire Dance, a romance novel. She is best-known as the writer of the Chief Inspector Barnaby series, which was made into a series for television in the UK known as Midsomer Murders. The first Inspector Barnaby novel, The Killings at Badger's Drift, was published in 1988 and named as one of The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time. Since then she has written six more, with latest novel A Ghost in the Machine published in 2004.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

If Agatha Christie, Stephen King, and Maeve Binchy decided to collaborate, this might be the book they would write--a sort of police procedural, murder mystery, horror story, and English-village melodrama all in a single cover. It's an engaging, beguiling, surprising story with wonderfully drawn characters, laugh-aloud humor, sinister twists, and a splendidly multifaceted plot. Mallory Lawson has little hope of escaping his miserable teaching job at a London public school. Then his aunt Carey dies, leaving him a generous inheritance along with her lovely house in quaint Forbes Abbot. Mallory is delighted--he can finally flee his teaching job, and his wife, Kate, can fulfill her dream of starting her own publishing house. Life will be sweet, right? Wrong. The Lawsons haven't even settled into their new home when Aunt Carey's financial advisor is brutally murdered, and shortly afterward, a local medium dies in mysterious circumstances. Enter caustic police inspector Barnaby, who has experienced plenty of strange cases in his career but none so strange as this one. Before the case is solved, readers have been introduced not only to the victims, the heroes, and the bad guys but also to an entire village full of delightfully eccentric characters whose stories are nearly as enthralling as the murder itself. No surprise that Graham's Inspector Barnaby series has been made into a TV series in the UK. --Emily Melton Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

With its focus on a dozen or so richly diverting characters, British author Graham's well-plotted ninth novel featuring Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (The Killings at Badger's Drift, etc.) has more in common with Dickens than with Conan Doyle. After old Carey Lawson's natural death, her nephew Mallory Lawson, whose idealism has trapped him in a teaching job he can't tolerate; his wife, Kate, who nurses a dream of publishing good books; and their willful, spoiled daughter Polly share in a legacy that will transform their lives. Carey's amiable, competent financial consultant and executor, Dennis Brinkley, collects huge and ancient weapons of war. The indecisive, diffident manner of the late woman's companion, Benny Frayle, hides a steely core of determination. Other striking characters include a medium who's a frustrated actress and her strange, abused daughter; a fortune hunter whose rich wife turns out to be no bargain; and a childless woman who finds an unusual answer for her longings. The first unnatural death occurs well into the book and doesn't become a murder investigation till halfway through. Those impatient with the initial lack of action will be well rewarded when the redoubtable Barnaby finally starts to sort things out. (Aug. 18) FYI: This series inspired the Midsommer Murders series starring Inspector Barnaby on A&E Television. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Fans of the A&E series starring Inspector Barnaby will welcome this most attractive village cozy. Barnaby is called to Forbes Abbot when the body of a man with a strange hobby is found squished beneath a medieval torture machine. Graham lives in England. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.