Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sorry I'm Late for Halloween with a Ghost Story
I wish I had received this book in time for a Halloween posting since it's a perfect English-moors-in-the-mist ghost story. Only 138 pages, it's - well, the only word I can think of is - charming, scary but nonetheless charming. It is made even more so by the little drawings throughout the book which illustrate the adventures of the young lawyer from London who is victimized by the lady in black.
In the beginning our lawyer is an elderly man whose family has arrived at the country home he shares with his second wife, and the young people have gathered in front of the fire to tell ghost stories. They beg him to tell one, after all a man his age should have at least one ghost story to tell. He refuses and goes outside to walk. He has been upset recently and his wife has been concerned about him. That day he decides he must write the story that has haunted his life.
When he was just beginning his career in law, anxious to better his position and willing to take on more responsibility to do so, his boss sent him on a difficult assignment to a village far from London to attend an old woman's funeral and then go through the papers in her house in preparation for settling her estate. He sets off cheerfully but along the way is warned about the village and the house. Something has frightened everyone in the area, but they won't tell him what it is. We aren't told what year this is but from the illustrations and language I assume it is the 1920s.
After the funeral he sees a lady dressed in black old-fashioned clothing in the cemetery and also a line of children along the fence watching. This is the beginning of a strange and unsettling story which will change his life completely before it is played out. Even if you don't believe in ghosts or unexplained spooky happenings, you'll be caught up in this tale.
I really enjoyed The Woman in Black and recommend it heartily. Maybe you shouldn't read it on a rainy, chilly evening though. I read it when the weather was dreary and that was suggestive enough, thank you very much. The book is available from amazon.com of course and I am an Amazon Associate.