The Woman in Black by Susan Hill


Mist. Quicksands. Encroaching fog with finger-like tendrils. A house in a marsh with a tide which prevents an easy escape.  A gaunt figure dressed in black which appears sporadically in graveyards, or behind trees. A child’s cry rising to a scream of terror before falling away into silence…

It’s odd, perhaps, that with only 164 pages it has taken me a week to read this ghost story. And yet, with my capability of visualization, it is not really odd at all. I am easily frightened, quick to imagine untold things in the dark and shadowed recesses of any given place.

I particularly dislike reading about locked doors and a familiar, but unidentifiable, sound – bump bump pause, bump bump pause – repeating itself throughout the night. For intertwined with the discernible is the terror that something has gone just the slightest bit wrong. This is what makes horror stories so frightening, the edge on which they dance between normal emotion and our deepest fears.

If you’re looking for a story this October that won’t take the few weeks left remaining, but offers up the irresistible chill of an insatiable ghost, this might be just the one. And I could lend you Samantha, in spirit, to keep you company as you read.