Now a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe
What 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 with foreboding of dark deeds to come, but also warms the soul with perceptions and language at once astute and vivid? In other words, a ghost story by Jane Austen.
Austen we cannot, alas, give you, but Susan Hill’s remarkable Woman In Black
comes as close as the late twentieth century is likely to provide. Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story’s hero is Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north to attend the funeral and settle the estate of Mrs. Alice Drablow 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 nursery of the deserted Eel Marsh House, the eerie sound of pony and trap, a child’s 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 that neglected genre, the ghost story, isn’t dead after all.
One of the strongest stories of supernatural horror…the work bursts into life and does not flag until the end. — The Washington Post
Irresistibly dramatic… Susan Hill has done the genre real honour. — Chicago Tribune
Hill’s haunting tales may be slim, but they pull no punches… — Harper’s Bazaar
For my money, the greatest of the contemporary ghost writers. Hill creates believable period characters, she creates a hermetic world that yet speaks of wider superstitions and histories, and creates plots with tension, pace and jeopardy without ever becoming heavy-handed. This is a story of vengeance, of an old curse from an embittered woman, all centred on the brooding Eel Marsh House, gloomy and isolated and cut off from the mainland at high tide. As the tension of premonition and disaster builds and builds, the ghostly screams of an accident long ago will haunt the reader’s imagination long after the last page has been turned. Perfect.
— Kate Mosse, The Guardian (UK)
…a rattling good tale, the sort that chills the mind as well as the spine. — The Guardian
Confident and compulsive, Susan Hill tells a story like one possessed; she has an extraordinary power. — Punch
One of the best creepy novels I have ever read…a heart-stoppingly chilling story of a haunting… Miss Hill has such an immaculate sense of place, mood, pace, and style, and she is so brilliant at evoking a malevolent atmosphere of evil and grief, that even in broad daylight I jumped with terror at a sudden noise outside. — The Sunday Express
An excellent ghost story… magnificently eerie… compulsive reading. — Evening Standard
Heartstoppingly chilling. — Daily Express
Terrifying… creepy classic. — Daily Mail
Susan Hill is the reigning queen of ghost writers and her period novella…is a classic, broodingly creepy and at times terrifying. — Michael Hogan, Observer
I don’t believe in ghosts but Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, self-described as a ghost story, brought me about as near as I’m ever likely to get to such a belief… Miss Hill writes with great power, each detail contributing to the tremendous sense of evil she creates. — The Daily Telegraph
Susan Hill has been admirably faithful to the genre. — New Statesman