I hadn’t intended to read any more ghost stories by Susan Hill after being quite disappointed by her book Dolly but when Michelle of in The Silver Room mentioned that she had been reading it and the next day I was at the library and I saw a copy on the shelf it seemed like serendipity. Anyway I borrowed it and ended up enjoying it much more than Dolly. Not only was the story better, the writing was also superior, to my mind anyway.
Adam Snow is an antiquarian book dealer and on his way back to London after meeting a client who lived near the south Downs he gets lost and ends up driving down a narrow track which leads to a semi-derelict Edwardian house. The house had had a garden good enough to open to the public at one time, going by the sign saying ‘garden open’. On getting out of the car to have a look around he suddenly feels a small child’s hand clutching his own, but when he looks down there is nobody there.
It’s a ghost story so he obviously isn’t going to turn tail and never darken the door again, as most of us would do! He mentions the place to his wealthy clients and the woman does a bit of research on the house and he does eventually end up visiting it again.
Meantime Adam has to travel to France on behalf of his clients, in search of a rare Shakespeare First Folio which is owned by the Monastery Saint Mathieu des Etoiles, they want to sell it and he hopes to secure it for his clients. Things get spookier and spookier, as you would expect.
One quite spooky thing to me was the fact that the day after I started reading this book there was an article in the Guardian about a Shakespeare First Folio which had just been found – in a monastery in France! But this time it was in a monastery called Saint Omer, you can read about it here.