Review of The Ghosts of Thorwald Place, by Helen Power

The Ghosts of Thorwald Place, Helen Power

A supernatural, satisfying, unusual murder mystery.

I haven’t read a story about a ghost for a while, I forgot how much I enjoy them. It’s no spoiler to note that the main character of this novel becomes one in chapter two. The central conceit of the elevator environment really works, both allowing and restricting the narrative and acting as a jump cut more than once.

There is a varied cast of decidedly odd characters, not all pleasant, and some with whom your sympathies come and go as secrets steadily and inevitably leak out. I did want to give Rachel a good shake once or twice, for being a bit feeble, but then she had been through a lot!

It cleverly blends the supernatural elements with more prosaic dangers, so you are never quite sure what’s genuinely spooky and what is a human someone being awful. Also it’s refreshing to have a book set in Canada for a change, rather than in Generic, USA, or London suburbia.

And fittingly for a story where the protagonist is trapped inside, the author named the building itself after Lars Thorwald in Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

I will be looking for more by this author, after enjoying her debut immensely.

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