Arthur Kipps did not believe in ghosts.
Few attend Mrs. Alice Drablow's funeral, and not one blood relative amongst them. There are undertakers with shovels, of course, a local official who would rather be anywhere else, and one Mr. Arthur Kipps, solicitor from London. He is to spend the night in Eel Marsh House, the place where the old recluse died amidst a sinking swamp, a blinding fog and a baleful mystery about which the townsfolk refuse to speak.
Young Mr. Kipps expects a boring evening alone sorting out paperwork and searching for Mrs. Drablow's will. But when the high tide pens him in, what he finds -- or rather what finds him -- is something else entirely.
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What real reader does not yearn, somewhere in the recesses of his or her heart, for a really literate, first-class thriller -- one that chills the body, but warms the soul with plot, perception, and language at once astute and vivid? In other words, a ghost story written by Jane Austen?
Alas, we cannot give you Austen, but Susan Hill's remarkable Woman in Black comes as close as our era can provide. Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drabow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child' scream in the fog, and most dreadfully -- and for Kipps most tragically -- The Woman in Black.
The Woman in Black is both a brilliant exercise in atmosphere and controlled horror and a delicious spine-tingler -- proof positive that this neglected genre, the ghost story, isn't dead after all.About the Author:
SUSAN HILL has been a professional writer for over fifty years. Her books have won awards and prizes including the Whitbread, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Somerset Maugham; and have been shortlisted for the Booker. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Honours. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I'm the King of the Castle and A Kind Man. She has also published autobiographical works and collections of short stories as well as the Simon Serrailler series of crime novels. The play of her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London's West End since 1988. She is married with two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.
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Book Description D.R. Godine, 1986. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110879235764