Susan Hill - The Small Hand (3 stars)

Susan Hill - The Small Hand


Susan Hill has been writing precise and chilling books in the rather unfashionable genre of the ghost story for decades, so she more or less has it down to a fine art by now. This short and typically gothic tale demonstrates the refinement of Hill’s prose, concise powers of description, vividly realised settings and characters, and a real gift for building the tension that’s obligatory for this kind of work.

Adam Snow is a book dealer who has the strange sensation of feeling a spectral child’s hand in his when he stumbles on a deserted old house in the English countryside. As the plot progresses, the relatively benign experiences turn malevolent, and something in his own hidden past turns out to be the key to his strange obsession. Quietly chilling without ever being over the top or showy, this is undeniably quality writing in a genre deceptively hard to master.

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