1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge
They say Jerusalem is haunted by Mrs Whichcote's ghost. Frank Oldershaw claims he saw her in the garden, where she drowned. Now he's under the care of a physician.
Desperate to salvage her son's reputation and restore him to health, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs her own agent - John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts, a controversial attack on the existence of ghostly phenomena. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts the uneasy status quo. He glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr Carbury, ever could.
But Holdsworth's powers of reason and his knowledge of natural philosophy have other challenges. He dreams of his dead wife, Maria, who roams the borders of death. Now there's Elinor, the very-much-alive Master's wife, to haunt him in life. And at the heart of it all is the mystery of what really happened to Sylvia Whichcote in the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem.
Why was Sylvia found lying dead in the Long Pond just before a February dawn? And how did she die? Indeed, why was she at Jerusalem, living or dead, in the first place?
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