These are some of the initial reasons you might consider reading Andrew Taylor's The Anatomy of Ghosts.
Released January, 2011, this book is a great read to start off the new year.
It's not an amazing read. But it's easy to read without being mindless. It's fun, and intriguing, and filled with a cast of interesting characters. It has lots of inappropriate behavior. It even has a secret society.
Like Dan Brown, but, you know, good.
And the protagonist not insanely obsessed with not ruining his pair of loafers.
The protagonist is, instead, the financially handicapped John Holdsworth. After his son and wife tragically drown, Holdsworth finds that his business soon suffers, as well. Having little money, living in his former house with a friend and that friend's wife (the latter of whom makes it clear she doesn't want him in her new house), Holdsworth is kind of losing at life.
Then, a condescending rich old lady who wears too much white powder on her face says that since he's a bookseller, she will hire him to evaluate and distribute her library - if he also agrees to save her son, who is in an asylum b/c he thinks he's seen a ghost.
Her son, like many college boys, has been drinking, gambling, and copulating. Very shortly before he went insane, he joined one of those secret societies, & it was... so wrong.
Andrew Taylor specializes in historical fiction, and The Anatomy of Ghosts is no exception. This novel takes place in the late eighteenth century.
Overall, it's a mystery story. What happened on the night that Frank, rich powdery-white bitch's possibly insane son, was inducted into the secret society? On that same night, two women died. Were they killed? If so, who killed them? Why does Frank think he saw a ghost?
Or is it possible that he actually did see one?
(I know, but I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to read the book to find out.)