Article published on November 27, 2017.
In this week’s instalment in our series of reading group guides, Erin Britton poses some questions about Ben Aaronovitch’s The Furthest Station.
“There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It’s PC Peter Grant’s speciality… Only it’s more than going ‘bump’. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow up interviews rather difficult. So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.”
1. The Furthest Station was a significantly shorter than normal outing for PC Peter Grant. Did the story feel satisfactory? Were there avenues that you would have liked to be followed up upon in more detail?
2. How do you think Brené McClaren came to be in the hidden room? Will this question come back to haunt Peter in the future?
3. You don’t get to see much of Geoffrey Toobin during the course of Peter’s investigation and the police don’t really reach a conclusion in terms of his motivation. To what extent do you think his living circumstances influenced his crime? Would the same have happened to anyone who lived in that apartment?
4. Was the spirit of George Buckland entirely benevolent? Did he simply want to help Brené or was he more interested in preserving his secrets and preventing Geoffrey Toobin from accessing the ghost jars?
5. Buckland seemed able to interact with the real world in a way the other ghosts could not. Was that due to his being a practitioner or was it in order to serve a greater purpose? Do you think his final message will be important for Peter in the future?
6.What do you think Abigail and the fox(es) are up to? Is there a risk that she will go “dark side” like Lesley?
7. Allen and Lillian Heywood are left to look after Chess at the end, albeit with help from Peter and Beverley. Do you think the young river god turned up by chance? He seems like quite an interesting character to only feature in one novella. Will there be conflict between the various rivers in the future?
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