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An Inquiry Into Love and Death

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  4,971 ratings  ·  688 reviews
After her ghost-hunting uncle Toby dies, Oxford student Jillian must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, terrifying events convince Jillian that an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost that haunts the bay? And who besides the ghost is roaming the local woods at nig ...more
Paperback, 339 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Berkley Books
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When Jillian Leigh’s Uncle Toby dies from a broken neck after falling from a cliff, she is asked by her parents to go and collect his belongings and sort things out. She goes to the seaside village of Rothewell, where he was living. Toby was always a bit eccentric. He was also a ghost hunter. While staying at his home (Barrow House) Jillian hears strange noises in the night. Sees strange things. Jillian is starting to believe that there is a ghost living at Barrow House, or in the nearby woods. ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Too many paranormal, magical stories are for children. “The Haunting Of Maddy Clare” approached horror but brought a superb author, from our country, to my attention. I eagerly told Simone St. James she has become my new favourite. To my astonishment, she replied the next day and bestowed me her third book! I savour it, having acquired and finished her second: “An Inquiry Into Love And Death”. I am even more impressed with this masterful work! My only remark is that one thing I look forward to i ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, a-z-challenge
Another great thriller by Simone St. James!
I’ve been impressed by her writing along with characterization. She really knows how to write independent, intelligent and fearless women!

An Inquiry Into Love and Death is part historical fiction since it’s set in the 1920s after WWI. It also has gothic and paranormal elements along with some romance! It’s all wrote well in a complete and thrilling tale.

Oxford student Jillian Leigh finds out that her uncle has fallen off a cliff and dies. Her uncle Toby
"My uncle Toby died of a broken neck in the autumn of 1924, just as I was starting the Michaelmas term at Oxford."

Uncle Toby's pocketwatch was left on the very center of the kitchen table. A book was found in the stove. There was a misplaced key. And the air: at times, it was frigidly cold.

This was Jillian Leigh's welcome to Barrow House and the small village of Rothewell on the English coast.

Admittedly, this story pinched my flesh. It gave me the heebie-jeebies. I found that when I was alone
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Probably because it was practically tailor-made for me.

A narrator/protagonist who feels human and relateable AND happens to be one of the first ladies to attend Oxford.
A mysterious murder at a seaside town.
England in the 1920s and a plethora of WWI feels.
A hunky Scotland Yard inspector who immediately sizzles with the protagonist and is VERY physical.


Okay, but seriously: This book was phenomenal. It rang true thr
samantha  (books-are-my-life20)
Loved it! Mystery, romance, and a little spooky
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing, a lovely romance, history lessons, a ghost story, and a mystery all wrapped up into one. Doesn’t get much better than this.
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spooky
I enjoyed Simone St. James’ debut novel, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, thoroughly enough to run to my local bookstore the night before Inquiry was released and accost the poor sales clerk, begging her to see if St. James’ newest book was in. Blessedly, she was kind enough to oblige, and I walked away eager to devour what I hoped would be another gripping, atmospheric tale.

Maddy Clare is a chilling, haunting story peppered with just enough romance to balance out the darkness of the main plot. Like
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
4-1/2 stars!

“This place dreams. It’s as if it’s stuck in time, looking backward, where everyone lives with the dead.”

Jillian is a strong female lead who must travel alone to a remote village after her uncle’s death. Soon after arriving, many strange and disturbing things start happening.

This is my second book by Simone St. James and I’ve already decided she is the queen of eeriness. The atmosphere, the characters, the plot, the timeframe, it’s all perfect. This is a look-over-your-shoulder kind
Keeping up with the season spirits (eh a bad pun), this had the right amount of spookiness (i was seriously scared even though I tried to time my reading esp of the ghostly manisfestations during daytimes), intrigue and rest of the masala stuff to make up for the slightly thin plot line. Still... no complaints!
This is the first book I've tried by this author and I enjoyed it a lot. It had the creepy ghost story element to it that I loved. I do wish there had been a bit more of it though. I felt like it was overshadowed a little by the murder plot which I thought was too easy to figure out. The best thing about this book and the thing that kept me reading was the whole atmosphere of it. I enjoyed the setting, the characters, and the creepy ghosts enough to give this 4 stars.

There is a fair amount of ro
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I loved this! I can not wait to read more by this author!
I'd really enjoyed The Haunting of Maddy Clare (thanks to my GR friend Holly for her recommendation), this one was a great read too! A bit less intense than the previous book, although I must say that the scene in Barrow House at night was pretty scary. The characters were well drawn, I really liked our protagonist, Jillian. The setting was very atmospheric, I could really picture it my head as I read. Especially the Blood Moon Bay in moonlight :) quite creepy. I'll definitely get my hands on th ...more
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Kind of boring, if I'm honest. Definitely needed less underdeveloped romance and more ghosts.
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Mystery-Historical: After WW1

Jillian Leigh is one of the few women attending Oxford after WW1. When her uncle falls off a cliff in the seaside village of Rothewell,she comes to identify his body and collect his things. Uncle Toby was a ghost hunter whom Jillian had not seen in years. A series of very frightening events that happen while she is there convinces Jillian there more to than just an angry spirit in the area. When handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken arrives to investigate T
I've been waiting to get my hands on this one since I read St. James' The Haunting of Maddy Clare, yet when I got my hands on An Inquiry Into Love and Death I was strangely reluctant to start it. It was one of those times when you're so excited to read a book, you don't just want to save it. I wasn't disappointed with this one, it had all the elements that I loved from St. James' first book - highly atmospheric, touch of the supernatural, dash of mystery, and a good helping of romance.

In An Inq
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
A spectacularly atmospheric mystery and ghost story, set in post-WWI England. The story and characters are worthy of being compared with the Bess Crawford/Ian Rutledge books by Charles Todd, which is pretty much the highest recommendation I can give to a book in this genre.

It is 1924, and 22-year old Jillian Leigh is of the odd new breed of academic-minded young ladies in England (a terrifying sort, for sure). She comes from an academic line, her father is a worldreknowned chemist, her mother hi
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Luli by: Linda

Deberías leer esta historia si te gustan los misterios, el suspense con un toque de paranormal y los romances sutiles, realistas y que te dejan con un buen sabor de boca.

Hacía tiempo que no disfrutaba tanto de una lectura, ha sido casi perfecta. La prosa impecable, el misterio me ha tenido en vilo, me ha costado la misma vida no leer el final de la página para ver en qué quedaba todo porque a veces el suspense era bestial… y el romance, aunque para ser sincera no ha sido el eje principal de la h
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lyuda by: Linda and Luli

3.5 stars

Part mystery, part romance, part supernatural, this highly atmospheric story is set in 1924 in the remote seaside village of Rothewell.

After Oxford student, Jillian Leigh, was notified of her uncle Toby’s death in a tragic accident she must travel to Rothewell to pack up his belongings. But it turns out to be much more than she bargained for. The place is hunted and the eccentric uncle’s death might not have been an accident. It seems the latter brought Scotland Yard inspector, Drew Mer
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys ‘Gothic ‘ ghost stories.
Setting: 1920s England, small town. An Oxford student, Jillian Leigh, is about to begin her next term when she receives the news of the death of her uncle, a ghost hunter, in the small town of Rothewell in Devon. Simone St. James’ An Inquiry into Love and Death has all the delicious elements of gothic ghost story. The protagonist, Jillian, wonders why her parents, although in Paris, ask her to leave Oxford at the beginning of the term to go to Rothewell in Devon to gather her uncles’ things as h ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago, and decided to revisit because I find this author's work fall under the “comfort reads” category for me.
And though it’s a comfort read, there is a fair bit of ugly behaviour at work in this story. Jillian must travel to small town Rothewell after hearing of her uncle Toby’s death. Her parents and Toby were estranged for some unknown reason, and Jillian is resentful that her parents are making her leave her studies at Oxford to identify the body and pack up Toby's things.
Edit: Skimmed the book and I am in LOVE with these characters and this story. Also, the UST is off the charts. 07/23/2016

Rating: 4.5/5

I feel like giving myself a pat on the back for accidentally picking up this book. So, SO good!

The book was an absolutely amazing paranormal murder mystery that remained consistently solid with its progress and twists without a moment of boredom.

Jillian was a wonderful character who was neither too sheltered nor too 'worldly.' It was a pure pleasure to read abou
Jen Davis
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this creepy, haunting story... my second read from Simone St James. Set in post WWI Europe along the coastal English countryside, it had a delicious gothic feel. The heroine, Jillian, is a young Oxford student who must travel to a small village after the mysterious death of her uncle to settle his affairs. The man was a ghost hunter and as she quickly sinks into his investigation. A sexy and aloof inspector from Scotland Yard serves as a romantic interest, adding a bit of steam and yea ...more
Lynn Spencer
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It didn't have the pervasive spookiness of The Haunting of Maddy Clare, but it's still a good creepy mystery with a healthy dose of the paranormal. The middle dragged a tad for me, but overall, not bad at all. And I loved the ending - a romance with an ending that's truly romantic always leaves me happy.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 75-books-in-2017
Excellent ghost/mystery/light romance/historical read! I was totally into the story from page one and cant wait to buy more of Simone St. James books.
Creepy, lightly atmospheric, great character development...I felt sorry for the bad guy in this book and I loved the ghost story.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Am enjoying reading my way through Simone St. James’ novels - I love her books!
This story is a murder mystery, thriller & steamy romance all rolled up into one spine tingling chiller. The premise focuses on the death of (main character Jillian’s) Uncle Toby, & a ghost named Walking John who’s still prowling around the woods after 200 years - - sparks then also begin to fly between Jillian and the Scotland Yard inspector, a well-known ladies man, investigating the case.
Jillian pursues her own i
”I did not believe in ghosts. Of course I didn’t- no sane person believed in ghosts.

I believed in Oxford, and cobblestoned squares, and old bricks thick with ivy, and rainy days curled up reading books. I believed in my mother’s strong coffee and in the lonely, aching scent of early dawn before anyone else in my boardinghouse was awake. I believed in my favorite men’s cardigan and the wat the wind felt on the back of my neck. I believed in life as it lay before me, spinning out slowly, day af
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2017-reads
I've always wanted a book that I can go back to repeatedly without it losing its charm.

This is that book for me. I can never tire of this story and its characters.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoy a good Gothic novel, and I was intrigued by An Inquiry Into Love and Death as soon as I first heard about it. After reading it, I can report that it is indeed a good Gothic novel, and fans of the genre should definitely check it out.

Jillian Leigh’s life as an Oxford student is interrupted when her uncle Toby dies in a fall from a cliff in the remote village of Rothewell. With Jillian’s parents out of the country, settling Toby’s affairs falls to Jillian.
Toby was a ghost hunter and had tr
A copy of An Inquiry Into Love and Death was provided to me by NAL/Edelweiss for review purposes.

When Jillian is informed that her Uncle Toby passed away after committing suicide she's the only family that is willing and able to come and collect his belongings. Upon visiting the quaint seaside village of Rothewell that he was staying at, she finds quickly that there is something strange about this town. Realizing that her Uncle Toby had been staying there working as a ghost hunter she realizes t
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Play Book Tag: An Inquiry Into Love and Death - St. James - 4 stars 1 11 Apr 02, 2019 03:17PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 04, 2015 10:22AM  
Ghosts? 2 33 Jul 08, 2013 11:24AM  

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Simone St. James is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel, The Broken Girls and The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the televi ...more

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“I believed in Oxford, and cobblestoned squares, and old bricks thick with ivy,a nd rainy days curled up reading books. I believed in my mother's strong coffee and in the lonely, aching scent of early dawn before anyone else in my boardinghouse was awake. I believed in my favorite men's cardigan and the way the wind felt on the back of my neck. I believed in life as it lay before me, spinning out slowly, day after day of warm springs and thunderstorms and laughter. These were the things I believed in.” 15 likes
“You suspected me of murder?” I said. “I suspect everyone of murder,” he replied.” 1 likes
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