Review | The Ghost Clause

The Ghost Clause by Howard Norman


Newlyweds Zachary and Muriel have recently moved into a beautiful farmhouse in Vermont.  Muriel has successfully defended her dissertation and earned her PhD and Zachary is settling in as the local rookie private detective with the Green Mountain Agency.

Their home security system is driving them mad because a sensor in their library keeps setting off the alarm.  What they don’t know is that it isn’t a system error but in fact a ghost.

Widow Lorca Pell sold the farmhouse to the couple after the death of her husband, author Simon Inescort.
Simon, however, still feels right at home, spending much of his time in the library as he observes the lives of Zachary and Muriel and muses on his own life and marriage.

Zachary’s first case is a dramatic one for the tight-knit community as he searches for a local eleven-year-old missing girl named Corrine Moore.  The stress of the case puts a strain on his marriage as the months pass and hope for Corrine’s safe return begins to fade.

The Ghost Clause is a contemplative portrait of two marriages within a ghost story that contains a mystery.
While I appreciated Simon’s sharp introspection and was curious about the mystery of the missing girl, the book never fully came together for me.  It felt like separate books were mixed together, making the storytelling uneven and I never knew where to focus my attention.  The characters were all quirky and extremely self aware but in a two-dimensional way that kept me distanced from them.

I wish I’d been able to appreciate this book more.  If you’re an avid reader of introspective literary fiction, you may enjoy it more than I did!

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss for providing me with a DRC in exchange for my honest review.  The Ghost Clause is scheduled for release on July 2, 2019.



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