THE WOMAN IN BLACK by Susan Hill
Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the
salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causway. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor,
is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, the house's sole
inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the
shuttered windows. It is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman,
dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins
to take hold, a feeling deepend' by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the
woman in black - and her terrible purpose.
"a rattling good yarn, the sort that chills the mind as well as the spine" Guardian.
"She writes with great power... Authentically chilling" Daily Telegraph.
"An excellent ghost story... magnificently eerie... compulsive reading" Evening standard.
Published by Vintage 1998 15 17 19 20 18 16 14 Copyright Susan Hill 1983 The right of Susan Hill to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by Way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser First published in Great Britain by Hamish Hamilton in 1983 Vintage Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA A CIP catalogue record for this book Is available from the British Library ISBN 0 09-928847 8 Papers used by Random House UK Ltd are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin Printed and bound in Great Britain by Cox & Wyman Ltd, Reading, Berkshire
For Pat and Charles Gardner
The Woman in Black
It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve. As I crossed the long
entrance hall of Monk's Piece on my way from the dining
room, where we had just enjoyed the first of the happy,
festive meals, towards the drawing room and the fire around
which my family were now assembled, I paused and then,
as I often do in the course of an evening, went to the front
door, opened it and stepped outside.
I have always liked to take a breath of the evening, to
smell the air, whether it is sweetly scented and balmy with
the flowers of midsummer, pungent with the bonfires and
leaf-mould of autumn, or crackling cold from frost and
snow. I like to look about me at the sky above my head,
whether there are moon and stars or utter blackness, and
into the darkness ahead of me; I like to listen for the cries
of nocturnal creatures and the moaning rise and fall of the
wind, or the pattering of rain in the orchard trees, I enjoy
the rush of air towards me up the hill from the flat pastures
of the river valley.