Of course, one must showcase a ghost story Halloween week and what better book than one by Susan Hill, whose first ghost story — The Woman in Black published in 1983 — ranks among the best. Her newest ghost story, The Small Hand, published in the U.K., is getting great reviews. From the Times Literary Supplement: “Ghost stories often disappoint because although they unravel like whodunits, the premiss, no matter how cruel or ingenious the twists, seems arbitrary. Hill both creates and avoids these standard disappointments.”
The protagonist of The Small Hand, Adam Snow, is a dealer in rare and antiquarian books who takes a wrong turn on country roads and finds himself before a decayed Edwardian mansion and its neglected garden. He leaves his car to explore the overgrown grounds and, while doing so, feels the touch of a small hand within his own. From The Guardian: “And thus a haunting begins, but unusually it’s not tied to its initial location. The small hand creeps more and more often into Snow’s, and what starts as a relatively benign phenomenon becomes increasingly alarming and dreadful.”
I look forward to reading The Small Hand, which I’ve order from the Book Depository via Amazon. Hill, by the way, is the author of Howard’s End Is on the Landing, featured last month in TLC.
Another book that’s got my interest is Stanley Fish’s The Fugitive in Flight: Faith, Liberalism, and Law in a Classic TV Show. Remember Dr. Richard Kimble fleeing from Lieutenant Philip Gerard on ABC TV from 1963 to 1967? Fish believes “The Fugitive” may well be the greatest show ever aired on American network television. From the publisher’s website: “Analyzing key episodes, The Fugitive in Flight goes beyond plot summaries and behind-the-scenes stories. For Fish, the real action of ‘The Fugitive’ takes place in confined spaces where the men and women Richard Kimble encounters are forced to choose what kind of person they will be for the rest of their lives. Kimble is the catalyst of such choices and changes, but he himself never changes.”
A quick refresher: the TV show’s protagonist Richard Kimble played by David Janssen is wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He escapes police custody and lives on the run, pursuing the real killer, a one-armed man.
I wonder how much detail, if any, we need to know about the show’s episodes to enjoy the book. You may recognize Stanley Fish from his work as the New York Times Opinionator blogger.
Correction: Susan Hill’s book The Small Hand was referred to as A Small Hand twice in this post. The error was corrected 10.25.10.