Arthur Kipps is a man touched by tragedy as we learn following his storming away in a temper from Victorian festivities, complete with ghost stories, on a snowy Christmas Eve. He is fully aware that stories of ghosts may be told in frivolous fashion, but that ghosts themselves -- real ghosts -- rarely manifest in such a mood. Ashamed of his bad behavior and wishing to explain himself and make it up to his wife, he begins to write the story of his own horrific experience following the death of Mrs. Drablow in the remote village of Crythin Gifford. A young attorney, he travels up North to represent his firm at her funeral and clear up outstanding legal affairs. The reader follows Kipps casually but is soon caught up in a fearful exploration of human despair and its consequence.
I am somewhat amazed that this Susan Hill's work has eluded my notice until now. I had never heard of her, until Elaine of Random Jottings posted about this book last year. Now, I see that I've been missing out on a wonderful writer. The real strength of The Woman in Black is Susan Hill's writing. After all, in this cynical age, what is it that can persuade us of the presence of a melancholy or malevolent ghost? We don't really believe in ghosts in any sensible, scientific way; but the words of Susan Hill are composed so as to draw up the fears of our primitive forebearers, the fears of childhood, that ultimate human fear of being alone and vulnerable to larger forces. Just as Elaine had warned me, the book is scary. It is artfully crafted and absolutely capable of raising the hair on the back of your neck.
The Woman in Black is quite as good as any of Edith Wharton's ghost stories. --myindividualtake.blogspot.com
From the Inside Flap
Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again, plus he also hears the terrifying sounds of adult and child passengers sinking into the quicksand on a pony and trap.
Despite Kipps?s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil hi professional duty.It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Rescued by Mr Daily, a friend he met on the train, Kipps discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with tragedy, with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.
--This text refers to an alternate