Monday, 2 November 2009
Mist in the mirror (Hill)
I wanted to read The woman in black for a Halloween read over the weekend; and Fiona from Vintage kindly offered to send me a copy. Unfortunately despite being sent over three weeks ago, it somehow seems to have been mislaid in the post, and the replacement copy won't be here until next week.
I was still keen to read some sort of ghost story, preferably something reasonably modern but I don't know very much about modern ghost story writers, so when I went to the library to get something else, I looked for another Susan Hill. I ended up taking out The mist in the mirror which sounded from the blurb as if it would be a classic ghost story.
I was not disappointed: the settings, Edwardian London and the Yorkshire moors were wonderfully gothic and Hill managed to slowly unravel a mystery which was both gripping and chilling. The book is about the story of Sir James Monmouth, who returns home to England after many years spent travelling abroad. He is on the trail (despite warnings not to) of an explorer named Conrad Vale who he wants to know more about. But Sir James is plagued by ghostly and strange events and happenings; he appears to be followed by a little boy, perpetually sobbing; he keeps seeing an old woman behind the curtain. Yet no-one else can witness these things.
I should really have read this book at night for the full effect, rather than sitting in the flourescent light of the staff room at work on Saturday, as I think that would have made the experience more chilling. My own caveat with the book was that I found that there were quite a lot of loose ends which didn't get tied up which I found ultimately spoiled the book for me; there were a number of ghostly occurrences to which there was no resolution which I thought was a shame; the book is a compact 184p. and it would certainly not have been excessive to write another 50p. or so to wrap it all up properly.
I am still looking forward to reading The woman in black which is supposed to be one of her best works, but I am also wondering about reading some other modern ghost story writers as it's that time of year. Can anyone recommend any?