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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)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,301 ratings  ·  113 reviews
'Simply the best detective writer since Agatha Christie' The Sunday Times

Discover the novels that inspired the hit ITV series Midsomer Murders, seen and loved by millions.

A Ghost in the Machine is the captivating seventh novel in the Midsomer Murders series starring Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby. Features an exclusive foreword by John Nettles, ITV's DCI Tom
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 20th 2016 by Headline (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,301 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Bionic Jean
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
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Renita D'Silva
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant. A wonderful study of human nature
Jill Hutchinson
This is a much longer book than most of the DI Barnaby/Sgt. Troy series and certainly different from the ones that preceded it. The main protagonists and the murder(s) do not appear until half-way through the book....the first half is dedicated to the inhabitants of the village where the crime eventually happens. And what a crime it is. You have to admit that being crushed by the cannon ball of a medieval weapon is not something the police encounter very often, if ever. The clues are scarce, ...more
Sheila Beaumont
This mystery, the last and the longest (and the best, I think) of Caroline Graham's delightful Inspector Barnaby series, was a reread for me. I first read this at least 12 years ago, so of course I remembered almost nothing about the story except that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The author's satirical edge and her outstanding character portrayals are what make this book, and the series as a whole, so much fun. It's rather like reading early Robert Barnard. The characters range from very likable to
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Caroline Graham is a master of character development and plot. It seemed especially so in this book, her last of this series. The first 160 of the 470 pages of the ebook I read were devoted to setting the scene and developing the characters, which I enjoyed. After the death/murder occurred, it was a good many more pages before Inspector Barnaby appeared on the scene. The story line included a variety of topics, one of which I don't enjoy: the paranormal. Near the end Barnaby is anticipating ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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 ...more
Sarah  T
I have so enjoyed reading the Inspector Barnaby novels and feel slightly bereft to have come to the end of the series! That said, this was not my favourite of the collection probably because, for my taste, there simply wasn’t enough Barnaby and Troy. Their role for much of the book is quite peripheral which is disappointing for the reader who knows this is the last opportunity they have to spend time with them. I also thought that the book ended on a slightly odd note - in keeping with some of ...more
I’m sorry to see this series end. I enjoy how the author takes time to set the story up and builds up the characters. I almost stopped reading a couple times due to my great distaste of Polly. There are some lovable, quirky characters along with the nasties. There’s humor, irony, sweetness, and quirkiness. I also appreciated how everything was tied up in the end.
Sid Nuncius
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much – and far more than I expected to. I grew tired of the Midsomer Murders TV series a long time ago, but this is actually very different in tone and character from what the series became. The book is a very good novel of character with crime as its plot driver.

A Ghost In the Machine is 550 pages long and I have to say that the first third of the book was good but a bit of a plod sometimes. Caroline Graham paints intricate portraits of her characters and their lives
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A good mystery that takes us nearly to Barnaby's retirement (which explains why there aren't more of these books, I guess).

Dennis likes old war stories and their battle machines (as in medieval). Ava thinks she's an actress/psychic who's about to be discovered and lives in her own delusions of grandeur. In that she's not unlike Polly (Mallory and Kate's daughter) who thinks she's the next brilliant thing. Then there're the people who just want someone to care about them or to care for - Roy,
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lauren Good
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Bryn (Plus Others)
Dec 09, 2019 marked it as not-finishing  ·  review of another edition
I read all the earlier ones of these -- the first few eagerly, and then as they went on with more and more discomfort. Graham has some things she seems to always return to that I do not really enjoy, and in this book I finally was able to pinpoint them; her characters seem to fall into two groups, the Nice People and then Everyone Else. Nice People (of whom there are very very few) mean well and care deeply but are fairly incompetent and naive, they are always being taken advantage of and never ...more
Melissa Etheridge
A GHOST IN THE MACHINE is the last DCI Barnaby book. He looks forward to retiring at the end of the story. I'm sad because this is my favorite series.

A well-liked villager dies in a gruesome manner, and it's pronounced an accident. But when a second villager dies, the police believe that the two deaths are related, and reopen the first case. I was frustrated with the police work in the first death (DCI Barnaby was not involved). I felt that clues were overlooked. One of the main characters feels
Reggie Billingsworth
Have returned to re-review this weird epic...'cos it IS long.

Based on its intriguing title, (despite other authors having used it many times over it seems) I expected the themes of mysterious machines spiritually invaded or similar. What I did not expect was a series of lengthy (albeit entertaining) character studies developing their own almost stand alone narratives with minimal mutual connection and taking up easily three-quarters of the book overall.

It's as if Graham had these leftover
David Hallstrom
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
A Ghost in the Machine is the seventh and final Inspector Barnaby novel. The series would not have suffered if this had not been published.

The Barnaby novels are much more stories about characters in Midsomer than they are mysteries. But a Ghost in the Machine is barely a mystery. You are more than 200 pages in to the 545 total before DCI Barnaby and DS Troy make an appearance. And you are 300 pages in to the book before they are investigating a murder.

In the meantime you have tales of a
This is the last in the Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery books, which the TV show Midsomer Murders is based on. It was a really good mystery with many threads and stories that needed to be connected together. You have Mallory and Kate with their horrid daughter Polly, Bennie, the faithful companion and then the neighbors, the psychic connection, the accounting firm, and of course Barnaby, Troy and Cully. There is a great deal going on here to keep the reader guessing. A much more in-depth story ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd go 1.5 on ths one--some parts were okay--but it certainly was not good enough to warrant a 2. Inspector Barnaby doesn't appear until just about page 150--almost halfway through the book--and that long tiresome lead-in features several quite unpleaseant characters, including one girl, Polly, who ought to have been the murder victim. Dreadful. This is the last of the Barnaby novels--just as well, as Graham was clearly tired of her character. I haven't read #s 5 or 6 yet (had to read this one ...more
Pamela Morris
Nov 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay. I have a confession to make. I don't do this often, but in this case - I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I made it a bit past the halfway point in this book. The murder doesn't even occur until around page 175 and honestly, I couldn't have cared less who killed him or why. All the characters came across as shallow and boring and God, I just wanted to get out of there as soon as I could. I'd hoped after the murder things would pick up, but no ... it prattled on. I wasn't in the least ...more
Donna Karen Nino
A riveting Epilogue, must read to last word.

As all the Inspector Barnaby mysteries, the story moves slowly, laid back, just like the laid back, quiet, friendly lifestyle of the small villages. I've read every book and watch the series on TV, too, because the characters draw me into the murder suspense. You might think the Epilogue slow and just trying up loose ends, but read to the last word for a chilling revelation that had me on the edge and tense as much as the specialist in the final
Sue Law
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-crime
The first third of this book was a slow, detailed build up of character and background in an English village and beyond, with a few red herrings built in. Then the death occurs. Anything else would spoil it.
After getting through the first half I quite enjoyed this book, but not enought to want to read it again, so no ****. If Caroline Graham ever writes another one, would I read it - yes. So ***.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not that this one isn't good, it IS - but you spend a LOT of time with some horrible people, both in their heads and out of it, right from the beginning. They're so successfully unpleasant that I nearly put the book down.

It all comes right in the end, but this is an example of characters written so well I didn't want to hang around them.
Naomi Moderson
Unique. It claims to be a "Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery", but he & his investigation play only a small part of the book. Lots of plot & character development. Felt very slow, but I think it may be due to my anticipation of the murder & insetigation - I didn't let myself enjoy the story.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I wasn’t expecting much- just another crime drama- but I fell in love with the author’s style. She uses well crafted detail to provide us with a deep understanding of her characters. The plot is expertly woven with satisfying twists. Fun to read!
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Easily my favourite of the series!
Patty Weiser
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I can't downgrade because it is the last Inspector Barnaby mystery...

Enjoyed it as always - love the slow burn and build.
Cynthia Kauffmann
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very strange but intriguing.
Jan Heppner
This was a tedious read. Although they did fool me at the end and I enjoyed the characters, I found the story took way too long to tell...…….
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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

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)
“Unburdened by any medical knowledge, what would they think of Karen's strange ramblings? The answer came quickly enough. They would think she was making it up. What an imagination, they would say. And if it all went a stage further? Would they see this as genuine derangement, as he had done? Probably not. They would say she'd been watching too much telly. Or eating cheese before bedtime.” 0 likes
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