Night After Night, by Phil Rickman
Elsewhere I enthuse about Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series. This isn’t part of that but the ethos is the same: whether or not ghosts are real is less important than whether people think and act as if they are. This is also an amusing and informed take on reality TV: a production company stages its own version of Big Brother – they call it Big Other – in a Tudor mansion that may or may not be haunted. At the time of writing I haven’t got to the end, but the threads are coming together. Those who do believe in ghosts have become aware it’s a place where a lot of historical abuse has taken place, the most prolific offender being an 18th century tenant who was renowned for his exercise of droit de seigneur whether the locals liked it or not. And he was there at the same time (this really happened) that Katherine Parr was exhumed at nearby Sudeley Castle, in an amazing state of preservation. So, putting the two together I think I see where it’s going.
I was bowled over by that real-life fact about Parr. It was all down to her being buried in a sealed lead coffin. She didn’t stay remarkably preserved very long due to the owner’s habit of opening the coffin up repeatedly to show her to his friends. But, imagine if they had just waited another 100 years. Less. Photography would have been invented. Someone would almost certainly have taken a pic and we would have an actual photo of an actual Tudor woman. Damn!