Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

the woman in black

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 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 deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and most dreadfully–and for Kipps most tragically–The Woman In Black.

I will admit that I started listening to this on the way to the airport for my holiday, nodded off, half listed to it, and have then spent the next month or so getting round to completing listening to it.

That perhaps gives a poor reflection on the book (it should give more of a reflection on that fact I can fall asleep on a 3 hour coach journey to Gatwick). The story is spooky and mysterious and the narrator (Paul Ansdell) ably contributes to the ambiance and is written in the fine tradition of gothic horror novels.

Mrs Alice Drablow lived and died at Eel Marsh house, and Arthur Kipps is sent to the house to represent his firm at her funeral, and afterwards clear up her papers. At the funeral, he spots a woman dressed in black, with a wasted face behind her veil, and soon becomes aware of a malaise that inhabits the house. Searching through the papers, he pieces together a sad story, and he begins hearing and seeing things, and it soon pushes him to the edge of sanity. The Woman in Black has a reputation and it comes to haunt Kripps when he least expects it

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One thought on “Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

  1. I saw it performed in London when I was at school. There was a row of us teenage girls and the whole lot of us were so terrified that by the end the entire row was holding hands.

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