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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)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  527 ratings  ·  63 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...more
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
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
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
Lauren Good
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
Elizabeth Fagin
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
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...more
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
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
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...
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...more
May 20, 2008 Katy rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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...more
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
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 GHOST IN THE MACHINE (Police Procedural-England-Cont) – NR
Graham, Caroline – 7th in series
St. Martin's Minotaur, 2004- Paperback
Chief Inspector Barnaby believe the death of well-liked Dennis Brinkley is an accident. But when a medium claims the victim is about to reveal his murderer, the medium turns up dead as well. It's now clear to Barnaby that there's something more going on in Forbes Abbot than would seem.
*** I found all the characters so unpleasant; I only made it to page 56 before givin...more
Excellent mystery from Caroline Graham. It is a bit different from her usual Inspector Barnaby mysteries in that it focuses very much on the characters and less on the procedural workings of the police to solve the murder. Ms. Graham is always good on character development, but this time she has out done herself.

In fact, labeling this story as simply a mystery is selling it far short. From the beginning the goings on in the villiage Forbes Abbot draws in the reader and sends you on an interesti...more
Susan Beecher
Loved this mystery.
Took about 150 pages be halfway interesting.
K.B. Hallman
I became acquainted with Chief Inspector Barnaby via the Midsomer Murders series. This is the first of Graham's books that I've read. I confess that I like the tv version of Barnaby's and Troy's characters better.

I was impressed with how much Graham made me loathe some of the characters--specifically Mallory and Polly.

The book is well plotted, but a bit slow at times. The characterizations are amazing.

I probably would have enjoyed it more had I not come to it with preconceived notions.
I just love Caroline Graham. She's so wonderful with character development, and this novel has lots of it. Sometimes she gets a little off the point - you know, the mystery, but I forgive her since I love the writing so much.

Barnaby is only incidentally involved. He's barely even there; and when the murderer is caught, it's also only incidental - doesn't seem to really matter in the end. I would still recommend it to all fans of Graham, and will most likely reread it.
I was recommended this book by a friend. I was very sceptical at first, because I know the TV series and the first few chapters didn't grab me - I initially found the characters too caricatured and OTT. However, it grew on me - a character-driven traditional whodunnit, which begins as the story of a collection of eccentric characters, all thrown together in the same small village, and where the mystery element organically grows from that.
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This book took a little while to get into, but once I got into it I could not put it down. I had not ready any Chief Inspector Barnaby books before, so this was all new to me. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan, so this was out of the norm for me (in the sense that really the only murder mystery books I read are Christie's). I thoroughly enjoyed it though, and I would definitely consider reading more of Graham's work.
Chief Inspector Barnaby is at first reluctant to take a case, believes it is an accident, but then changes his mind after a second person is murdered. I thought it was a simple case of the medium being fed the information, and it was, but then there was a twist that changed the story. made me wonder what happens next to someone. I would never have figured it out who did it, the clues were hidden so well.
I had never read any of the books that inspired Midsomer Mysteries, which is one of my favorite TV shows. This book was truly charming. It wasn't a duplicate of the way the TV show was handled, which was actually just fine. Graham spends most of the book developing the characters unique to this particular story, rather than focusing solely on Inspector Barnaby. I very much want to read more of these.
Fair warning to those who pick up this book, it is nothing like the midsomer murders tv-series. However, if you can ignore that, it is a nice - if at times longwinded - little crime novel. The focus of the novel, is on a large cast of characters from the small village around which the story is centered, and Barnaby only enters the story fairly late, so patience is required.
Caroline Graham’s novels are always character-driven and more in the vein of suspense than the mysteries they purport to be. Her latest, “A Ghost in the Machine,” is typical of the fare and a good read.
I’ve always liked the cozy, though Graham has updated the genre to conform to more modern times and made it a bit more gritty than some of her predecessors.
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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...
The Killings At Badger's Drift (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #1) A Place Of Safety (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #6) Death Of A Hollow Man (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #2) Faithful Unto Death (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #5) Written In Blood (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #4)

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