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The Woman In Black (The Woman in Black #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  36,034 Ratings  ·  4,402 Reviews
This ghost story was first published in hardback in 1983 and has gone on to have a remarkable life over the following decades, in various paperback incarnations, as a set book for GCSE and A Level, and as a play, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt and running in London’s West End since 1988 and round the world.
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published June 27th 2011 by Vintage Books (first published 1983)
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Popular Answered Questions

Aaron VanAlstine Well, I don't know about scarier but Shirley Jackson's book The Haunting of Hill House is pretty creepy and atmospheric. Also, her short story The…moreWell, I don't know about scarier but Shirley Jackson's book The Haunting of Hill House is pretty creepy and atmospheric. Also, her short story The Summer People is probably the scariest short story I ever read.(less)
Jingizu Yes, the movie is based on the book although the ending is slightly different.

@ Lewis Szymanski - no, the 2012 movie is NOT a reboot of the TV movie…more
Yes, the movie is based on the book although the ending is slightly different.

@ Lewis Szymanski - no, the 2012 movie is NOT a reboot of the TV movie of 1989. It is new adaptation of the novel. And frankly, I thought the 2012 movie a lot better than the 1989 one.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A man may be accused of cowardice for fleeing away from all manner of physical dangers but when things supernatural, insubstantial and inexplicable threaten not only his safety and well-being but his sanity, his innermost soul, then retreat is not a sign of weakness but the most prudent course.”

 photo woman in black_zps9wfl3zjg.jpeg

The young solicitor sent to Crythin Gifford to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased Mrs. Alice Drablow is a man by the name of Arthur Kipps.The people of Crythin Gifford are like the people of m
Bill  Kerwin

A disappointment. I kept hearing about how this was a real honest-to-god, old-fashioned ghost story steeped in the tradition of James and James (Henry and Montague Rhodes)that delivered a frisson of genuine terror and some very fine writing as well. Alas! I didn't find any of this to be true.

For starters, I didn't believe the narrator. He is a man in his forties--self-described as "unimaginative"--who years before suffered a scarring supernatural experience, yet he sounds for all the world like
Emily May
I said in another review that I'm near impossible to scare because my parents were relaxed with horror movie censorship when I was a young kid. I was oversaturated with horror from a young age and tend to find it more laughable than spine-tingling.

However, this book may be the only exception I have found so far. In recent years I have flat-out avoided horror stories because they do nothing for me... I can stomach Stephen King but only because his books tend to be about more than the basic horror
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A chilling, traditional ghost story, with a strong Victorian feel: a lone lawyer goes to a spooky house on the marshes, plagued by stories of madness and death. No great surprises, but shocking none-the-less. It is skilfully written, so that most of the scary stuff happens in your head, rather than being explicit on the page.

Arthur Kipps, the main character and the narrator is very pragmatic and always tries to dismiss his fears and find a rational explanation, which serves to make his
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghosts-horror, culled

Rating Clarification: 2.5 stars.

Disappointing and predictable, this Gothic ghost story isn't a patch on the classics of the genre such as Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. The writing is uneven and the author fails to keep the suspense building often interspersing awkward/boring moments between the tense scenes, which unfortunately were all too few. Part of the problem with the tension was that it was all so predictable I didn't even feel the need to check the ending like I usually do. In othe
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After finishing and loving The Silent CompanionsI really wanted to another gothic/period style ghost story to creep me out and when The Woman In Black came up in in my recommendations feed I was excited about the novel after reading the book's blurb.

What I heard next chilled and horrified me....
The noise of the pony trap grew fainter and then stopped abruptly and away on the marsh was a curious draining, sucking, churning sound, which went on, together with the shrill neighing and whinny
Nandakishore Varma
You know, what I love about British ghost stories are that they are so understated, like everything else in the country. They don't come bellowing and and dripping gory entrails - they creep upon you, and whisper "boo" almost apologetically in your ear. I think M. R. James started this trend, and all others seem to be following it.

Susan Hill starts her novel, "The Woman in Black", showing Arthur Kipps, an elderly lawyer and the first person narrator, having a quiet Christmas Eve with his family.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
2.5 stars

The story starts with our main protagonist- Arthur Kipps narrating his paranormal experience to his close family and friends.
The start of the book reminded me of The Turn of the Screw as this also starts with a similar narration pattern and both these stories revolve around an isolated house.
But that is where the similarity ends.

The setting of 'Eel Marsh House' is spooky, it is foggy surrounded by marshes and the accessibility to the house is blocked during high tide....

Arthur see's Th

I make a habit of not watching the based on movie before reading the propagating book, so that fact that I’m reading not one but two of said unfortunate works (A Clockwork Orange sneaking in during my youth due to college fanboys and the like) is not something I plan on ever happening again. However, it happened, and I will not lie that my expectations have been adjusted accordingly.

While the book is horror, the movie is horror horror horror, tragic past combined with morbidly saturated cin
Kwesi 章英狮
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2011, susan-hill
Every November we used to play and go in someone's houses and go hunting the ghost that lurks. It seems that I read the book earlier than what I have thought. I can feel the tingle of the cold and smell of the estuary. The dead is coming and hunting me again a little earlier than what I thought.

When Arthur Kipps asked to summon and attend a funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, the inhabitant and owner of Eel Marsh House, secrets and lies behind the four walls of the house went blown through the atmosp
Wonderfully, spooky, tragic story. The narrator does a frighteningly good job of conveying the absolute horror that young Arthur Kipp experiences when he travels on behalf of his legal firm to tie up the loose ends of a client who has died. Eel House stands deserted and only accessible twice a day with the low tide. He has no idea what he is going to find when he plans on staying at the malevolent house under the hateful, evil watch of the deadly woman in black. Arthur has no idea that seeing he ...more
A very good ghost story with creepy sounds, a marsh with lots of fog and danger, and a haunting revengeful spirit. I was all set to give this book a strong 3 stars until the last chapter's chilling, horrid surprise ending. Now I can't wait to see the movie with Daniel Radcliffe. This is a GREAT October read!
Scarlet Cameo
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rc-17
Lectura con el grupo 221 b Baker street

"La forma de desterrar a un viejo fantasma que sigue apareciendo consiste en exorcizarlo."

Esta novela se siente como las historias clásicas de monstruos, donde estos casi no aparecían, pero su leyenda se había extendido al grado que, aun antes de que el protagonista de hecho los viera en acción, ya empezaba a encontrarse atormentado por él. Dejando de lado el gore que actualmente abunda en el ambiente del terror (en todas sus formas), en esta novela la am
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. A pseudo-Victorian gothic ghost story that has a very un-Victorian length of 140 pages. To be honest, it's not very good. It reminds me of 14 year old me when I started reading things like Dracula, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and thinking 'there's not much to this writing a classic novel business- I should give it a try'. Cue the dull, rational protagonist (lawyer or doctor obviously) who is thrown into some spooky goings-on and slowly becomes undone in such default settings ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.

I was very disappointed with this book. It's much shorter than I thought it was going to be, for one. That's my fault for not checking to see how many pages it was.
I found the prose to be overly descriptive. I get it, the house is located in a marsh by the sea. I get it that there is fog. I get it that the only road to the house is underwater during high tide. Enough already, where is the woman?
Even when the woman shows up, the story continues to be boring.
I did not fi
Kayla Dawn
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-besitz
Das Buch hat sich leider unglaublich gezogen & die meiste Zeit ist nichts passiert.
Allerdings waren die Schlüsselmomente umso atmosphärischer und haben mir wirklich gut gefallen.
Das Ende war ab einem bestimmten Punkt des Buches relativ vorhersehbar, aber trotzdem gut.
Gucke mir die Tage den Film an :)
Doha AhMad
I've watched the movie recently & became so excited to read the novel. Actually, I don't consider it a novel, because it's more like a short amusing story.

Indeed, the movie was more thrilling,  in my point of view,  because I liked the changes that were made in the original incidents of the story.

Undoubtedly, I enjoyed reading it but unfortunately, its Plot was somehow weak & too short; I wished if it could have been little more prolonged. Even the language the author had used was extr
Daniel Kaine
I've always loved a good ghost film, so after seeing 'The Woman in Black' advertised at a bus stop, I decided I absolutely had to go see this film. Imagine my surprise when I found out it had originally been a book! Well, that changes everything, I thought. I have to read the book first! And so I did.

'The Woman in Black' tells the tale of Arthur Kipp, a solicitor acting on behalf of the late Mrs. Drablow, attempting to sort out her affairs. Mrs. Drablow was an old recluse, living in a small hous
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have known of this story for some time and I will admit I have wanted to read it even before the film (and now its sequel) but it wasnt until recently that I found the book (dont ask books seem to disappear in to the void that is my collection).

The book itself is incredibly atmospheric - which I think makes up a huge part of the appeal to me. The story itself is excellently told as you would expect from Susan Hill, the plot however if you have read much of gothic horror and ghost stories is p
Magrat Ajostiernos
Lectura rápida, entretenida y perfecta para estas fechas :)
3.5 Stars
Apparently I'd had this book on my radar (AKA: Goodreads To-Read list) for a long time, but forgot all about it - until the movie starring Harry Potter Daniel Radcliff was being advertised all over the place. I then thought, "Oooooh creepy shiny!" and tried to add it, only to realize I had already done been added it.

And now that I've done been readed it (err, I'll stop with that now), I'm thinking that it excelled in some ways, but left me disappointed in others.

And I'm wondering whe
Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

’Yes, I had a story, a true story, a story of haunting and evil, fear and confusion, horror and tragedy.


Arthur Kipps is a junior solicitor from London who has been asked by his employer to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow in Crythin Gifford. He must also visit her residence in order to collect any important paperwork that she may have been left behind. Arthur sees the woman in black at Mrs. Drablow’s funeral and again at her reside
Carolyn  Storer
I first read 'The Woman in Black' back in 1990 - I loved it then and I still love it now. I re-read it especially for my 'All Hallows Eve' event and I'm so pleased I revisited this amazing book.

The eeriness of the story is combined with delicious descriptive prose. This is what I love about Hills' writing. She's able to describe the world surrounding her characters with such detail I could actually be there, smelling the morning dew, feeling the biting wind on my skin, sensing the fear that grip
Glenn Sumi

Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black has all the elements of the classic English ghost story:

• an isolated estate that includes one locked room at the end of the hall
• an unwitting protagonist (in this case a junior lawyer going over a dead woman’s papers)
• a tragic event in the dead woman’s past
• townsfolk who keep their knowledge of mysterious evil deeds to themselves
• a final turn of the screw

What the novel lacks in originality and genuine frights, though, it more than makes up for in ambience. Hi
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A bit of a fun ghost story, complete with a house right out of Poe. "I looked up ahead and saw, as if rising out of the water itself, a tall, gaunt house of gray stone with a slate roof, that now gleamed steelily in the light."

Our narrator first confronts the woman in black in a graveyard. How appropriate is that? The story is Gothic in flavor, reminiscent of The Turn of the Screw, and crammed with cliches that work perfectly. I was surprised by the ending, which doesn't happen all that often. I
BAM The Bibliomaniac
This is the type of horror story I can manage.
Eel Marsh stands solitary through most of the tide on an island once inhabited by monks. But now that its elderly owner has passed, does it stand empty?

Our narrator takes a journey to town as the solicitor who must collect the assorted paperwork of the deceased. His fortitude is put to the test. As a helpmeet he is given the companionship of a dog named Spider. She becomes attuned to the mysteries of the manor house as well.

We learn who the woman
Gloria Mundi
I read this book mainly because I went to see the play at the Fortune Theatre in London a few weeks ago. The play was really good. It wasn't the scariest thing I have ever experienced, as some reviews claim, but it did make me jump and it was a fantastic performance carried entirely by two actors, with most of the fear factor delivered through good old fashioned darkness, sudden noises, closeness of the atmosphere (it was the smallest theatre I have ever been in) and the audience interaction (th ...more
2 stars. This book could have been a 3 stars book if the ending isn't such a letdown.

The opening of The Woman In Black is quite nice, the writing is decent and it reminds me of the Victorian Gothic vampire short stories I used to read. But sadly there is a downside to the Victorian Gothic horror style the author, Susan Hill, tried to channel: the writing of Victorian Gothic horror is always dry, boring, reeks of dusty old English and overused cliches. Very sadly Susan Hill didn't make anything n

Over the four-day Halloween/All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day long weekend, I took a respite from reading the classic novel, Gone With The Wind , to get spooked read something that's thematically apt for the holiday. I had been provided with a PDF copy of this book for a couple of months now (thanks to Kwesi), and I was particularly saving reading it for Halloween.

The Woman In Black: A Ghost Story is about a young Brit lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who was tasked to tie up the loose ends in the estate
Dec 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, gothic, reviewed
Susan Hill's The Woman in Black is a homage to the traditional English ghost story - the stylish and atmospheric works of M.R. James, who delighted in telling them to his students and friends at Christmastime, and pretty much began the tradition of doing so. This is not a bad thing by any means, but has one significant drawback - a work must be original enough to stand on its own, and not merely be a case of careful but uninventive inspiration.

Sadly, The Woman in Black is a clearly the latter.
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Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor
More about Susan Hill...

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“For I see that then I was still all in a state of innocence, but that innocence, once lost, is lost forever.” 39 likes
“A man may be accused of cowardice for fleeing away from all manner of physical dangers but when things supernatural, insubstantial and inexplicable threaten not only his safety and well-being but his sanity, his innermost soul, then retreat is not a sign of weakness but the most prudent course.” 23 likes
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