The back cover of this short novel says: “What real reader does not yearn, somewhere in the recess 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?” How can you resist a hook like that?
I first read The Woman in Black in 2002 after seeing the play of the same name in London’s West End. The story features a young solicitor named Arthur Kipps who’s dispatched to the north of England to settle the affairs of the recently-deceased Mrs. Drablow, an elderly woman who lived at the remote Eel Marsh House.
The Woman in Black is a ghost story with all the requisite elements: a strange woman dressed in black, a locked room with a rocking chair that won’t stop moving; and the eerie sound of a pony and trap in the fog. It’s one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time—Company of Liars may be the exception. There’s no blood here, just a spine-tingling yet subtle mystery. There's really nothing more I can say; this book is perfect.
Also reviewed by: Between the Covers, A Work in Progress, Books I Done Read