The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
First Published in Great Britain in 1983 by Hamish Hamilton
Everybody loves a ghost story; irrelevant of whether you are the kind of person to scoff at the supernatural or the kind to laden your person with sage and onions-we all enjoy the surge of adrenalin, the chill down the spine and the aftermath of paranoia.
However, in a quest to scare the logical adult out of oneself, one must equip themselves with appropriate reading material, for there is nothing as frightful as letting your imagination run away with itself, to let it conjure up scenes on such disturbing levels you are left questioning your own sanity.
I introduce to you, the cynical reader, The Woman in Black, a vintage classic which has kept a formidable reputation throughout the decades, scaring people all over the world since 1983.
This treacherous tale follows junior solicitor, Arthur Kipps, who has been summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow; the sole inhabitant of the ominous Eel Marsh house. Unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the sheltered windows he ventures into a world of ghostly apparitions wreathed in fog and mystery. A creeping sense of uneasiness begins to take hold of Arthur when he spots a wasted young woman clad in mourning dress in the funeral grounds, yet no one can prepare him for the nightmare that is to follow.
It is a credit to Hills writing abilities that the reader and protagonist experience this nightmare together, as if you were his shadow, unravelling the horrifying mystery around the Eel Marsh house. You will want to read this book in one sitting, not just because it is a superb piece of literature but because you will want to shed the feeling of dread that is inevitable when reading this gothic horror treat.