The Small Hand

This short novel by acclaimed ghost story writer Susan Hill was recommended as a story about the supernatural that was designed to give shivers up the spine. Unfortunately it fell short. The writing was old fashioned and seemed artificial to a twenty first century reader. The dialogue was stuffy and stilted and I had difficulty empathising with the characters.
It felt a bit like Enid Blyton had tried her hand at writing a short ghost story.
The premise was that the main character Adam Snow, gets lost, finds a deserted house and suddenly is grasped by the hand by an invisible presence. He tells us quite matter of factly that the hand belonged to an invisible body.
He then goes into detail about his work as an antiquarian book dealer and his journey to find a lost First Folio of Shakespeare’s works for his client and friend Sir Merriman. This necessitates a visit to a remote monastery, where he is saved from supernatural torment by the prayers of the mute monks. The hand has haunted him intermittently and becomes more sinister in intent, trying to drag him into ponds and eventually, off a cliff. He ends up consulting his brother who had once had mental health issues and repeatedly tried to throw himself off buildings, into oncoming traffic, and, yes, you guessed it, into ponds and lakes. Our hero takes a bit of time to get to the conclusion and I won’t give the ending away entirely here, but the whole thing is solved when he revisits both the house and his brother and pieces together the clues. A spirit wants revenge!
Another gothic by numbers I’m afraid. Someone has been reading Ann Radcliffe I suspect. Perhaps to read if you’re bored and want something light and not too taxing. All up, it should only take an hour.

20110504-083942.jpg