Susan Hill has been a prolific writer since 1963. She was a presenter of BBC Radio 4's Bookshelf. She has won the Somerset Maugham Award (for I'm the King of the Castle); the Whitbread Novel Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her sequel to Rebecca, Mrs de Winter, was a big bestseller and her short story The Woman in Black was adapted to the stage and has been running in the West End for 18 years. She is the author of a highly successful crime series published by Chatto & Windus. Bloomsbury will be publishing her latest children's story in 2008.
In her new novella, British writer Hill (The Various Haunts of Men) delivers another captivating, classically Victorian gothic tale of horror. Similar in structure and ambiance to her highly successful The Woman in Black, written 25 years ago and staged as a play for 18 years in London's West End, this story is good but falls short of its predecessor's spookiness. The plot revolves around a highly regarded Cambridge professor and the mysterious painting of masked Venetian carnival goers hanging in his apartment. The painting has a macabre secret that cryptically draws in viewers, almost as if it were having a supernatural effect. Reminiscent of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Hill's quick, refreshing, old-fashioned ghost story is just in time for Halloween. Recommended for general fiction collections.--Carolann Curry, Mercer Univ. Medical Lib., Macon, GA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.