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The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill
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The Mist in the Mirror (original 1992; edition 1999)

by Susan Hill

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3152035,272 (3.27)53
Member:thefirstalicat
Title:The Mist in the Mirror
Authors:Susan Hill
Info:Vintage Books (1999), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:supernatural, ghost story, England

Work details

The Mist in the Mirror: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill (1992)

  1. 10
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (lkernagh)
  2. 00
    The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill (sardav64)
    sardav64: A short eery novella that is perfect for long cold autumn and winter evenings
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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
A spooky little ghost story, there is not a lot of actual action or ghost visitation instead settings and weather are used to build suspense.

Not especially scary and I would have preferred a more definite conclusion. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is my very first Susan Hill read. I am a huge fan of Gothic stories with their crumbling mysterious estates, dark secrets and overall feeling of rising unease. Hill follows the classic formula for a Gothic tale so well that I was rather surprised to discover this story was originally published in 1992. This story has the overall atmosphere and writing style of a more historically published work, written in an earlier time period. Hill does a fantastic job creating the overall Gothic feel. The story has a wonderful slow-building quality to it that probably would not appeal to readers who like their action and want their story to unfold at a quicker pace. The "reveal" has its elements of creepiness and horror, without being overwhelming.

Overall, a solid piece of Gothic writing and one that I believe would appeal to readers who enjoy stories like Sarah Waters The Little Stranger. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Jan 3, 2016 |
This is another one of Susan Hill's chilling novels, though this is longer than her others, I thought perhaps a bit too long, with the writing somewhat less taut than in her novellas such as The Small Hand and The Man in the Picture. It's still powerful writing, though; as usual, she creates a very strong atmosphere of creepy horror, and a deep sense of timelessness, otherworldliness and isolation, with even scenes set in central London feeling that there is hardly anyone else living there beyond the handful of people involved in the plot. Very good, if not quite her best. ( )
  john257hopper | Dec 23, 2015 |
This follows on from Hill's Woman In Black, another ghost story in a similar mode. James Monmouth, inveterate traveler, returns to England after a lifetime abroad, intent on researching the life of one Conrad Vane, whose travels inspired his own. Almost immediately upon his arrival in London the spookiness commences, with a mysterious ragged boy popping up in odd corners. As he begins his investigations, he receives warnings and dark hints and strong suggestions not to bother. Unfortunately all those warnings are a bit short on details, and when Monmouth discovers a connection to his own forgotten childhood, he finds himself almost compelled to seek out the truth.

Well, yes, it's great in many ways. Highly readable, richly textured with details of Victorian life, strong on atmosphere and character. Bits of it ooze menace and unease, and the whole thing, with its hints of childhood innocence corrupted, is rather strongly suggestive of The Turn Of The Screw. It operates almost as an anti-detective story, where nobody will tell the poor narrator what the hell is going on, every bit as frustrating to the reader as it is to poor James Monmouth. No less than two possibly senile, or maybe just ancient and befuddled characters notably fail to tell him anything informative, but at least they have that excuse. Those of sound mind who drop dark hints and vague suggestions are just downright irresponsible, not letting the poor chap have any idea what he's in for. By the time he gets to North Yorkshire, it's in danger if slipping into self-parody, as people go pale or get upset or mutter darkly every time he so much as looks at them.

An explanation, satisfying but perfunctory, comes at the end, but one wonders if Hill was reluctant to disturb the shape and tone of her elegantly crafted, highly atmospheric, beautifully structured Victorian ghost story with the potentially vastly more gothic melodrama hinted at in the past. This isn't a horror story. This is a ghost story. Which is almost a pity. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
An unnamed narrator gets talking to Sir James Monmouth, a passing acquaintance, at his London club. They share a cab home, and Sir James requests whether the narrator would be so kind to read his story; he agrees, and, when passed the manuscript a few days later at his club, spends all night reading it, captivated.

Styled as a frame narrative, the majority of this short novel is told by Sir James Monmouth, looking back on his life, until the final pages are given over again to the narrator. As with several others of Susan Hill's books, the story is big on atmosphere, but very thin on plot: there are so many loose ends here, opportunities that are left unexplored and unexplained (the titular mist in the mirror being one), that it ultimately leaves the reader with an immense feeling of dissatisfaction and anti-climax. ( )
1 vote passion4reading | Mar 1, 2015 |
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London, and the library of my Club, towards the end of an afternoon in late November, that bleak, dispiriting time of year when the golden Indian summer days that lingered on through October seem long gone, and it is yet too early to feel the approaching cheer of Christmas.  (Preface to Sir James Monmouth's manuscript)
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Sir James describes the
Mystery surrounding him,
But questions remain.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0701187867, Hardcover)

An inveterate traveller, Sir James Monmouth has spent most of his life abroad. He arrives in England on a dark and rainy night with the intention of discovering more, not only about himself, but his obsession with Conrad Vane, an explorer. Warned against following his trail, Sir James experiences some extraordinary happenings — who is the mysterious, sad little boy, and the old woman behind the curtain? And why is it that he only hears the chilling scream and the desperate sobbing?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An inveterate traveller, Sir James Monmouth has spent most of his life abroad. He arrives in England on a dark and rainy night with the intention of discovering more, not only about himself but his obsession with Conrad Vane, an explorer. Warned against following his trail, Sir James experiences some extraordinary happenings.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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