Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Small Hand by Susan Hill




On his way back from a client on the coast, Andrew Snow, a rare book dealer, cuts through the Downs and has an odd experience. After leaving the main road, he gets lost and finds himself inexplicably stopping at a dilapidated mansion. On The White House grounds, he feels the presence of a small hand gripping his own but yet there's no visible child. Is this a ghost or is he going mad like his brother, Hugo? Why do the gardens and pool fascinate him? Why does it all seem so achingly familiar?

Susan Hill (The Woman in Black) does a masterful job of creating tension and suspense in the marvelous ghost story. Hill is particularly good and creating psychological portraits that ring true. Infused with the supernatural, this novelette also revels how skillfully we deceive ourselves as adults. Grown-ups falsely believe their past is past--that their childhood fears and offenses are long buried.