Books Magazine

The Man in the Picture by @susanhillwriter

By Pamelascott

An extraordinary ghost story from a modern master, published just in time for Halloween. In the apartment of Oliver's old professor at Cambridge, there is a painting on the wall, a mysterious depiction of masked revellers 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.

*** [THE STORY was told to me by my old tutor, Theo Parmitter, as we sat beside the fire in his college rooms one bitterly cold January night] ***

(Profile Books, 11 October 2007, hardback, 145 pages, borrowed from my library)

***

***

The Man in the Picture is a great example of an eerie and chilling tale, perfect to shiver up to on a cold night. The tales echoes the work of Daphne du Maurier and MR James. The setting is perfect for such a spooky, unsettling tale. Hill uses a story-within-a-story device and this is perfect for the dark history of the mysterious painting. The Man in the Picture doesn't really offer anything new but it's so well done this hardly matters. I loved listening to Theo gradually revealing the painting's sinister history. I had shivers.

Picture @susanhillwriter

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