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A Ghost In The Machine (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #7)
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A Ghost In The Machine (Chief Inspector Barnaby #7)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  758 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
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--a ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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If you are an avid follower of the popular "Midsomer Murders" detective series on British television, then the novels may come as a bit of a surprise. In this seventh one in the series, A Ghost in the Machine, detective Tom Barnaby and his sidekick, sergeant Gavin Troy, are so sidelined in the story that they almost fall out of the novel altogether. It is very much a mainstream novel, geared to depiction of characters, and where the action and place seem inconsequential.

As such it is a reasonabl
Sep 21, 2009 Kate rated it it was ok
Really don't know why I bothered finishing this book. It suffered badly from lack of editing attention Over 200 pages of book went by 'establishing' characters without a whiff of murder. This is completely unacceptable for anyone with the possible exception of Elizabeth George, who is a far better writer. Another 100 or so pages before Barnaby even starts his investigation. This novel was too long, and too slow, and most of the characters were boring and hard to distinguish one from another.
Mike Gabor
Jul 25, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-mystery
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, much to my surprise. The murder itself doesn't take place until about a third of the way in and Inspector Barnaby doesn't make an appearence until a few pages later. In spite of that, this was a wonderful read. The author does a tremendous job of painting her characeters and of life in an English village. At first you're anxious for the action to begin but then you find yourself wanting to know more about these wonderful characters. I'm so glad that I picked up th ...more
Nov 17, 2013 Cat. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Frustratingly opaque at the beginning, this book was one that picked up speed about two-thirds of the way through. An unusual mystery (for me, at least) in that the reader actually spends some time getting to know the eventual victim, and liking him. Usually, the dead person is a creep, or at least it's understandable why he's dead. This time the victim doesn't die till nearly halfway through and the person most likely--the one I would have LIKED to have committed the murder, so she could be jai ...more
Jun 13, 2016 E. rated it it was ok
A Ghost in the Machine
I’m done with this series. I really can’t stand the 300 pages of backstory, followed by 100 pages of mystery solving, followed by another 100 pages of wrapping up the back story. I really don’t care who slept with who or who cheated who out of thousands of pounds; I just want to read about Inspector Barnaby solving a murder. I’m not sure how you can call a series The Inspector Barnaby Series and then only have him present for 1/5th of the book. I also found that like the p
Lauren Good
Jul 22, 2011 Lauren Good rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I suspect the failure to love this book is entirely mine. The author does a lovely job developing her characters and making us care about the characters, but I just wanted someone to die so I could get to the damn mystery! See my problem? I didn't want to like Dennis. I didn't want to know Dennis before he became a corpse. I am beginning to suspect this is typical of British mysteries. Is it because Americans are in such a hurry that we want to get to the mystery, get it solved and get the hell ...more
Sridhar Babu
Oct 27, 2014 Sridhar Babu rated it it was ok
Characters ..

Kate Lawson, Malloy Jackson, Dennis brinkly, Andrew, Gilda, Ava Garrat, Karen, Roy prince..polly..

Chief Inspector Barnaby..

Dennis Brinkly a calm solicitor with an eccentric hobby of collecting creepy ancient War weapons..found dead in his War room (a place in his house for keeping his creepy collection) killed by one of his dangerous war weapon. Dennis also happened to be a solicitor to Malloy and Kate Lawson who settles in a calm village of Abbot after getting his aunts' properti
Elizabeth Fagin
Aug 09, 2014 Elizabeth Fagin rated it really liked it
This is the third book of Graham's DCI Tom Barnaby series that I've read. The British drama Midsomer Murders is based on these books. The flow and feeling of the books are very similar to the tv show, which I like a lot. One big difference is that Barnaby's side kick Troy is a major pain in the neck in the books. He's insecure, mostly at odds with Barnaby, childish and snobbish. He hits on everything in a skirt even though he's married. Very different from the tv character. But I kind of like it ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Sameera77 rated it did not like it
Shelves: village-mystery
When I first started reading this series I was wondering why only five of Caroline Graham's DCI Barnaby novels were adapted into Midsomer Murders episodes, now the mystery is over and the answer - predictable. The two final books are really decidedly worse than the earlier ones, so it's really no surprising that the producer preferred original scripts. As I'm a great fan of Midsomer Murders, I've seen all the episodes from 17 seasons, the first 13 seasons with John Nettles many times, the next 4 ...more
Angela Zeman
Puzzling story. Unsure of Graham's intent with this book. Structure revisions might have helped, frankly unsure.

Strange book. Inventive use of colorful characters, though most were two dimensional. The story draws the reader in, but first the reader must slog through lengthy, action-free description. Barnaby first appears at the book's midpoint and investigates only infrequently. Odd, unsatisfactory ending. I missed Ms. Graham's customary use of centering Barnaby in both the story and detection.
Lynn Pribus
Apr 06, 2016 Lynn Pribus rated it liked it
A good solid three stars, enjoyable and a nice respite from a series of books and CDs with just SO much trashy dialog it made me weary.

Doesn't jump right in and describe a gory death in the prologue, but develops a lot of characters before a body shows up. Some poorly named characters I thought with an Ashley and an Andrew and last names of Latham and Lawson. Easy to confuse when you read as rapidly as I do. Lengthy descriptive scenes also which I found myself skipping over, while telling myself
Oct 03, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Scrupulously honest and warm-hearted, solicitor Dennis Brinkley is about the most liked person in the peaceful country village of Forbes Abbot. His only eccentricity -- restoring fearsome ancient war machines. So when he's killed by a cannonball from one of his contraptions, even Chief Inspector Barnaby believes it's a freak accident. Until an opportunistic medium claims Dennis is about to reveal his murderer to her ... and soon turns up deceased herself.

Now, with two people dead and a possible
Aug 17, 2013 Belinda rated it really liked it
This is my first Inspector Barnaby book. I am a big, big fan of the series, and the English Mystery in general, but other than Agatha Christie, I have not read many of the books associated with the series. I grabbed this with a gift card I received for my birthday from Amazon and I am glad I did. It was surprisingly long for a mystery (457 pages) and really well written. I became interested due to Inspector Barnaby, but he does not show up until quite late in the book. It does not matter---the w ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Tom rated it did not like it
This has to be one of the worst books I have read in quite some time. Usually I only give a book a hundred or so pages before I give up, but I mainly finished this book to spite it and that I wanted something really bad to befall one of the characters. Without giving anything away, it did and it didn't. As an avid reader of Victorian and Russian literature I am used to slow-moving books. However this book was like watching cold molasses pour out of a bottle, and just as interesting. The actual i ...more
Apr 15, 2016 Lynn rated it it was ok
This last Barnaby was a real disappointment. We don't meet Barnaby until half-way through the book, when suddenly there is a murder to solve. It seemed like Graham had a contract to fulfill, and she'd already written what she wanted to write.

There were just so many unrelated complications, and what's up with the epilogue? We don't need to see what happens "next," when we really didn't get a proper accounting of the crime and its resolution. Are we supposed to guess that Latham got his just dess
Feb 26, 2015 Sally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I rarely read mysteries, but my husband's got me watching the whole Midsomer Murder series, so I thought I'd try one of the books while I was traveling. This was the one the library had an ebook. I found that it emphasizes the things that don't interest me in the series, like the details of wealthy living, while the inspector and sgt (who don't appear much in this book) are less appealing. Quite well written, but not my cup of tea - I'll stick with Sherlock Holmes.
Elizabeth Elwood
Feb 11, 2016 Elizabeth Elwood rated it it was amazing
This was a thoroughly entertaining Inspector Barnaby mystery. Caroline Graham’s wit and her sharply honed characters make the book a delightful read, in spite of the fact that the subject matter is murder and mayhem with a particularly nasty murder set in a room full of ancient and sinister war machines. However, it’s the people and the ups and downs in their lives that make the book so engaging. Barnaby and his wife, Joyce, are as likeable as ever, while Sergeant Troy continues to be hilariousl ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
Interesting mystery. The characters involved are well-developed except for Chief Inspector Barnaby. I think he and DS Troy are revealed some in each book in the series. I enjoyed the book, but it was a bit long. I picked it up because I like the TV Show Midsomer Murders. I think I like the show better, but this is pretty good writing with a surprise creepy ending...
Feb 27, 2011 Roberta rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I decided to read this book after watching Inspector Barnaby series on TV, I chose one of the two novels that were not transposed in an episode.
I liked it a lot even if the point of view changed a bit to fast.
In this mystery there are a lot of characters, and the author menage to make the reader relate to all of them.
The book is divided in three parts. In the first a murder occurs but it is mistaken for an accident. In the second another murder takes place, in such a way that makes clear that al
May 20, 2008 Katy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Shelves: fiction
Great book. I love the inspector Barnaby/Midsummer murder mysteries. I started reading these books because of the BBC series Midsummer Murders. Caroline Graham is the closet thing to Agatha Christy since Agatha Christy. She does the same with holding evidence thing that Christy does so you have no idea who did it until she tells you, although you can start crossing out suspects in your mind as the story goes on and you can figure out who would never murder. Easy mindless read with out being chee ...more
May 07, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
Another great mystery by Graham although oddly, Barnaby doesn't show up until halfway through the book. The first half well introduces the characters, all connected to an elderly woman who has died (of natural causes). When her financial consultant dies very oddly, the whole group is suddenly suspect.
Oct 03, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
This was an interesting book but not that interesting as it was supposed to be an Inspector Barnaby book and other than a VERY short appearance around pg. 100 he wasn't part of the story until after 200 pgs. and was still not much of a part of the story. It was a mainly a story about several people with different problems and a family crisis with a murder thrown in.
Tina Stanton
Nov 13, 2010 Tina Stanton rated it really liked it
One of my favourite television shows is the Midsomer Murder mysteriest from England and I recently discovered they are based on books decided to read some. Only 2 are available to me in Canada on the Kindle and this is the first.

So far I'm enjoying the book; love the details of country life.

I finished reading last night. Overall I did enjoy the book but I did wish the inspector had been introduced earlier. It was about halfway through the book before he even appeared.

The character development w
Nov 14, 2015 Roshni rated it liked it
An enjoyable read, but parts read a little like a less-gruesome Minette Walters with sections that just psycho-analyzed the characters to death (sometimes quite literally). Barnaby is a good main character, and the ending came as a surprise.
Oct 20, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
For fans of Midsomer Murders, the TV show based on Caroline Grahams Inspector Barnaby series, this mystery is slow-paced and filled with eccentric and macabre characters. I enjoyed it, but the action did not move quickly.
Jan 30, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-kindle
What a truly engrossing read this is. An accidental death is soon found to be murder and Barnaby and Troy are on the case. It seems impossible, with the victim already cremated and the crime scene long since cleaned up. The investigation into the death of a medium, however, throws up some startling leads.
It kept me guessing.
Jul 29, 2011 Maja added it
I enjoyed this book very much. The murder mystery is intriguing and the murder weapon was very original (a mediaeval war machine!), but the characters are so interesting they overshadow the mystery. Some of them are likable, others are revolting, hilarious, bizarre... Different sections of the plot are told from the point of view of different characters, and Caroline Graham seems to love giving us the point of view of the most selfish, shallow and stupid ones, which is at the same time infuriati ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Laura rated it it was ok
A bit of a slog to be honest!! Enjoyed the twists, but frankly took far too long to get any action or sense. Was ok - but if this was the first of her books I'd read I wouldn't be trying another. Disappointed!
A. C.  Burch
Didn't strike me as well as the prior ones in the series. A bit out of balance to my thinking. Excellent concepts, but not quite on the mark in terms of execution. That said, I love the way she sets a scene and the ongoing quirks of the characters are charming
Natalie Tucker
Jan 24, 2016 Natalie Tucker rated it did not like it
Shelves: cone-of-shame
boring times infinity. the POV going back and forth within the same chapter is terrible writing - half the time I didn't even know who was talking. I gave it two chapters and that was it.
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Caroline Graham 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.

* Chief Inspector Barnaby

More about Caroline Graham...

Other Books in the Series

Chief Inspector Barnaby (7 books)
  • The Killings at Badger's Drift (Chief Inspector Barnaby #1)
  • Death Of A Hollow Man (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #2)
  • Death In Disguise (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #3)
  • Written In Blood (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #4)
  • Faithful Unto Death (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #5)
  • A Place Of Safety (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #6)

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