"The Small Hand "
Antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles upon a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garden. Read more...
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"The Small Hand "
Antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles upon a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garden. As he approaches the door, he is startled to feel the unmistakable sensation of a small, cold hand creeping into his own, almost as though a child has taken hold of it. Shaken, he returns home to find himself plagued by nightmares. But when he decides to investigate the house's mysteries, he is troubled by increasingly sinister visitations.
After being orphaned at a young age, Edward Cayley is sent to spend the summer with his forbidding Aunt Kestrel at Iyot house, her decaying estate on the damp, lonely fens in the west of England. With him is his spoiled, spiteful cousin Leonora. And when Leonora's birthday wish for a beautiful doll is denied, she unleashes a furious rage which will haunt Edward through the years to come.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-08-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Spiritual malignance stemming from tragic pasts casts sinister nets of revelation and despair in two subtle, intelligent, and shocking modern ghost stories from Hill (The Woman in Black). These poetic and emotionally painful nightmares lay waste to the claim that the ghost story is dead and buried. In “The Small Hand,” antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow visits the grounds of a derelict house, where a small, cold hand grasps his own. Urging him to self-annihilation, this wrathful spirit leads Adam to unravel an ancient crime that may involve his own family. In “Dolly,” a future classic of the genre, Edward Cayley returns to his late Aunt Kestrel’s Iyot House, where a moldering china doll weeps in a churchyard. Rage culminates in tragedy as a simple toy soiled by a child’s hatred visits revenge on the innocent. Hill’s unemotional style envelopes the uncanny in prosaic realism, and her suggestive approach achieves superb uneasiness. Unresolved moral complexities bedevil victims in an unjust universe where decency is no protection from evil. Hill’s characters are haunted by conscience and insecurity as well as specters. Fear aficionados take note: these pleasing terrors shatter nerves with a whisper, not a scream. (Oct.)