The Ghost of Robert Brown

A Math teacher’s body is found floating in a lake at St. Anne’s, a prestigious boarding school in Kent. His death bears an eerie resemblance to the death of Robert Brown, a student who drowned in the lake, on the same day, five years ago. Jane, a Biology teacher and ex-detective begins to unravel the mystery, encountering secrets she hadn’t expected to find.

I wanted to like this because it had an interesting premise but it gets lost in areas that seemed to be filled with fluff to pad the page count so you begin to lose interest; not to mention Wish’s incessant need to ensure you know the time constantly of when things occurred. “At 7:00p.m. Jane stepped, At 10:00 a.m. Jane stood, At 9:30 a.m. Jane was in the vicinity” and so forth. This is not an episode of 24, you don’t need to know what time every action is happening in real time.

 If the time thing doesn’t begin to get under your skin then the fact you’ll know who the villain is way before the ending. I don’t know if it was intentional and the author and editor didn’t think about how it would impact the reader or if it was missed in editing but the identity of the murderer gets revealed early on before the rest of the characters even seem to catch on. It was just kind of confusing and a huge let down. It wasn’t even like in some of those CSI episodes where they show you the culprit then the show’s story is about how he/she gets caught and why they did it, like I said – confusing.

 I read TONS of mysteries based in England and you can very much tell that the authors are either British or have been to England because of the terminology used, descriptions of the area, phraseology and sentence structure, there’s just all kinds of clues that let you feel as if you’re walking through England watching this crime unravel. This book could’ve been set anywhere because there wasn’t enough details to give you a feel for where the story was taking place.

 The author went to law school so it was very surprising that the law enforcement characters and procedures didn’t feel more realistic. I think Clare Mackintosh has spoiled me when it comes to this because as a British author who has had a long career in this area her books are incredibly detailed and realistic for this part. It’s not just those in law enforcement but many of the other characters weren’t described as reacting or talking in ways that seemed realistic to who they were supposed to be or the situations they were involved in. The dialogue overall needs work because it didn’t feel very conversationalist throughout, my test for this is to get someone to read passages with me to hear if it sounds ‘normal’ and too often the conversations in the story failed.

 The skeleton frame of the story has promise and with better editing good be turned into a decent story.

 Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book.

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*synopsis and pic from

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