Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral Mrs Alice Drablow, the house's sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows.
The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 06/08/1998
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780099288473
Showing 1 - 5 of 23 reviews.
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Review by dylanwolf
I am a sucker for a traditional English ghost story and this short novel by Susan Hill incorporates all the right ingredients. We have a family celebrating around a log fire on Christmas Eve evening and a tale to be told. We have fog-bound London, an increasingly uncomfortable train journey into the eastern wilds, a small village with a cosy inn and nervous inhabitants, a funeral, a causeway across deadly sands and the isolated, spooky Ell Marsh House with its attendant hauntings. Super stuff. Go and see the chilling play in the West End too which is currently threatening to outrun The Mousetrap. Makes you wish someone talented and respectful would overhaul and retell M.R. James' dated ghost stories.
Review by LibraryLou
Probably one of the scariest books I have ever read, particularly when read on a dark and gloomy day in near darkness with thick fog outside the window... The stage version is fantastic, VERY scary, be prepared to jump out of your seat, and probably yell too!
Review by anotherjennifer
This is the quintessential ghost story. The novel is narrated by a character named Arthur Kipps, now an elderly man, who recounts the eerie events that occurred decades earlier when he was a solicitor settling the estate of Alice Drablow.As a young man, he was sent to a small town to attend Mrs Drablow's funeral and sort through the widow's papers. Although it was an ordinary task, Kipps' life was permanently altered by the appearances of a woman in black, the mystery he uncovered, and the strange occurrences in Eel Marsh House--Mrs Drablow's large home, surrounded by marsh and cut off from the mainland during high tides.Author Susan Hill does a superb job of creating that foggy, damp atmosphere that's ideal for old-fashioned ghost stories. I saw the play which is based upon the novel when I was in England last year and actually jumped out of my seat a couple times. I went out to buy the book before the plane ride home. The book isn't scary in that same jump-out-of-your-seat-and-scream (as the group of school children in the audience did frequently) sense, but that's not to say that it's boring. If you enjoy subtly creepy stories, you'll devour this book.
Review by isolde100
Written years before The Man in the Picture, this novel is also about a malevolent, vengeful ghost who destroys the lives of anyone who sees her. A perfect read for a stormy winter night. A classic "gothic" ghost story set in England.
Review by nicx27
This is a book that I tried a few years ago and couldn't really get into. However, as I'm going to see the play next week I thought I would give it another go. It's funny how tastes change, as I loved it the second time round and found it to be a compelling ghost story. I wasn't scared by it, but I did read the majority of it in the daytime. Had I read it at night on my own I might have been more spooked by it.Susan Hill has written a modern classic with The Woman in Black, and this is a book that I believe will endure for many years to come. It's a very short book, but tightly packed with ghostly goings-on and I loved how Susan Hill brought the story to a conclusion. Highly recommended.
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