The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
Genre: Ghost Story (according to my library anyway)
Publisher: Overlook Press
Publication Date: 2007
Source: copy Library
The Short Version:
A painting of Venetian revelers holds a dark secret.
Why I Read It:
I’ve been a fan of Susan Hill’s crime fiction for a long time and I thought her ghost story The Woman in Black was very good. Halloween was a great time to give another of her ghost stories a try.
From the publisher:
In the apartment of Oliver’s old professor in Cambridge, there a painting on the wall, a mysterious depiction of masked revelers at the Venice carnival. On this cold winter’s night, the old professor has decided to reveal the painting s eerie secret. The dark art of the Venetian scene, instead of imitating life, has the power to entrap it. To stare into the painting is to play dangerously with the unseen demons it hides, and become the victim of its macabre beauty…
Despite the title and the fact that every library I checked has this classified as a ghost story I don’t think I’d really call it that.
To me it’s a gothic suspense story. Bottom line it’s a deliciously creepy story of a creepy 18th century painting that has been causing trouble since it was painted.
The painting’s creepy history is told by Oliver’s elderly former professor. He describes how he came to own it as well as how the painting’s former owner told him of its history. The layers of the history are peeled back as the suspense builds. It becomes clear that the story of the painting is not done yet but what will happen next is suddenly inevitable.
It’s a quick read and perfect for a stormy winter afternoon. It’s one I will probably read again when I’m looking for a seasonal Halloween book.
This is my contribution to the Murder Monsters and Mayhem event hosted by Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves.