Read The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories by Susan Hill Online


From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the bestselling author of The Woman in Black.In the title story, on a murky evening in a club off St James, a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifyingFrom the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the bestselling author of The Woman in Black.In the title story, on a murky evening in a club off St James, a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building. A lonely boy makes a friend in 'Boy Number 21', but years later is forced to question the very nature of that friendship. 'Alice Baker' tells the story of a mysterious new office worker who is accompanied by a lingering smell of decay. And in 'The Front Room', a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and afterwards.This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically creepy and surprising tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave you wide-awake long into the night....

Title : The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories
Author :
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ISBN : 9781781256190
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories Reviews

  • Paromjit
    2018-12-21 11:11

    These are 0f a set of short ghost stories very much in the style of the usual Susan Hill books. They have an air of creepiness and menace about them but not grotesque horror or gruesomeness. The title story has a psychic private investigator, Gilbert, telling the story of Walter Craig, a gifted medical scientist, to Tom Williams, a retired bishop. Walter is engaged in ground breaking research when he begins to suffer from a debilitating illness. He takes on a assistant, Silas Webb, who is able to do what is required of him. After another bout of crushing illness, William returns to work and finds that Silas has left. It soon becomes apparent that an immense betrayal has taken place which William never recovers from. Years later, a bitter and resentful William takes his revenge only to find the results go further than he intended, for which there will be consequences.A lonely and unwanted boy, Toby Garrett, finds himself at boarding school. He has an interest in maps and weaves fantasies over made up countries. He unexpectedly finds a friend in new boy, Andreas, and the two become inseparable. Until Andreas disappears. A fire at Cloten Hall guts the building and has Toby wondering if he was in it. A brief reconciliation takes place with the arrival of the 21st boy until once again Tom is alone. Alice Baker is the new self possessed girl in the office. She is hardworking but private. However, attached to her is the odour of death and decay and the old office building has strange things happening. A move to a new building seems like a breath of fresh air until similar problems begin again until Alice disappears. My favourite story is The Front Room, which begins with Pastor Lewis exhorting his congregation to put into action actual good deeds in the world. This sermon finds a receptive audience in Norman and Belinda Irwin with their two children Wallace and Fern. Norman receives a letter from his stepmother, Solange, who highlights her loneliness and isolation in old age, which results in Norman inviting her to live in their home. Norman remembers Solange as a bitter and fractious woman who sucked out any happiness from those around her. When he meets her again years later she appears to be a changed woman, but is she really? Will the Irwins end up paying a terrible price for allowing her entry into their home?I found these short stories an entertaining and quick read. If you like the understated ghost stories as opposed to the heavily dramatic ones, then you will probably like this collection. Many thanks to Serpent's Tail for an ARC.

  • James
    2018-12-21 08:54

    If you are wanting something ground-breaking, cutting edge or consciously contemporary, then Susan Hill ghost stories are probably not for you. If on the other hand you enjoy well written, well crafted, solid, reliable, ‘does-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ hauntingly memorable ghost stories in the Victorian/Edwardian tradition – occasionally with a contemporary (or near contemporary) setting, which I do…then this another collection (a quartet) of stories well worth taking the time to read.Whilst not quite up there with Susan Hill’s strongest in this genre, ‘The Woman in Black’ and ‘Small Hand’, this is a satisfying and absorbing little collection – four very different stories, linked only by the similar atmosphere that they individually and collectively create.

  • Paul
    2018-12-31 15:04

    I have a sort of annual ritual at this time of year, when I read Susan Hill’s latest ghostly offering and this year is no exception. This time Hill has produced four short stories; The Travelling Bag, Boy Number Twenty-one, Alice Baker and The Front Room. Hill is a ghost story writer in the traditional mode; she concentrates on the psychological aspects of those involved rather than blood, gore and non-stop action. They concern everyday life and everyday occurrences. In my opinion the quality of these stories is variable. The second two being better than the first two. The title story concerns a psychic private investigator spinning a yarn at his London club and is set in the Victorian era. An eminent physician develops a debilitating illness and his assistant steals his work. The tale concerns betrayal, revenge, a travelling bag, a few moths (well, a lot of moths) and the upshot of the revenge with a nice twist. It is a bit of a pastiche of other stories in the genre, but betrayal and revenge are universal.Boy Number Twenty-One is the least convincing story. It is about a solitary boy at a boarding school who finds a friend when a new boy arrives. The boy’s sudden disappearance and reappearance are not really explained and the plot becomes rather clunky.With Alice Baker we move into more modern territory and the setting is an office and we are in the 1950s or 1960s. A new office worker sets in motion an unusual chain of events. Part of the building tension relates to an olfactory illusion/phenomenon. There is a small twist towards the end which doesn’t really fit with the rest of the story, but the tension does build well and there is an interesting exploration of someone at the margins of society.The Front Room is set in modern times and is pure wicked stepmother fairy tale with wicked stepmother well in the ascendant. The “let’s be good to everyone liberals” don’t come out of this well; an act of kindness is repaid in a way which is very unpleasant and goodness does not overcome evil. A rather pessimistic reflection on our own times. This collection was certainly better than last year’s offering and a couple of the stories are pretty good.

  • Blair
    2018-12-21 16:49

    I was excited about this collection because, while I've enjoyed all of Hill's previous ghost stories, I've always felt they're consistently spread a little thin. Hill's plots feel more suited to the brevity of a short story, but they are usually padded out to novella length, something that has often served to highlight the weaknesses in otherwise wonderfully creepy tales – and, ironically, also tends to leave them feeling incomplete. The Travelling Bag and Other Ghostly Stories is a small book containing four tales, with settings ranging from Hill's usual Victorian gloom to a modern-day office.The Travelling BagWe're on familiar ground here: in a London gentlemen's club, fog shrouding the streets outside, one man tells a story to another. The storyteller is a 'psychic private investigator', and his story is the response to his friend's question: 'Tell me, what would you say has been your most – shall we say "intriguing" case, Gilbert?' It's about a medical scientist who seeks revenge on the protégé who stole his ideas. There is a nice build-up to the denouement, and an effective sense of lingering dread.There was, however, something about the continuity of this story I really didn't get. I am fully prepared to accept that I misunderstood it, and would appreciate someone explaining it to me if that's the case! (view spoiler)[I didn't understand how Gilbert knew Craig was responsible for Webb's death – that is to say, I didn't understand how he could have told Part One of the story. Part Two seemed to make it quite clear that although he understood the nature of the murder, he never discovered the culprit. It's also clear he is meant to be telling Part One (rather than it just being included as exposition) because there's an interlude during which it is mentioned that he and Tom have to go home for the night before the rest of the tale is told. Did I miss something? (hide spoiler)]Boy Twenty-OneBegins very strongly, as a (former?) teacher reads a news article about a stately home, Cloten Hall, being destroyed by fire. This leads her to reminisce about one of her students, Toby. She remembers him as an 'unhappy boy' with a troubled home life; he struggles to make friends, until the arrival of the mysterious new boy, Andreas. The two become inseparable, forming a friendship so intense it worries their teachers. Then Andreas disappears. Given that it's a ghostly story, you can probably guess where it goes from there. That the story is bookended by the points of view of the teacher, Mrs Mills, and the now-adult Toby gives it a smidgen more intrigue than it might otherwise possess. Nevertheless, it is a slight tale, and rather predictable, which isn't to say that it's bad, but it was my least favourite of the four.Alice BakerA group of office workers have been putting up with their 'cramped, dingy' conditions for a long time, promised change that never comes and modernity that never materialises. When a new girl named Alice Baker arrives, the narrator thinks she seems nice, if antisocial; one of her colleagues seems to think differently, although she refuses to explain why. But then the narrator has her own odd encounter with Alice. And when the team are at last moved to the brand new offices of lore, the strange events surrounding their enigmatic co-worker don't cease. This story is the jewel of the collection. It's brilliant. Everything from the shabby buildings to the camaraderie of a small office to the feeling of experiencing something inexplicable, then justifying and rationalising it to yourself to the point that you barely believe it happened, is just wonderfully done. The narrator isn't named and yet she is the most believable character in the book – as eerie as the tale is, it also feels authentic, exactly as an ordinary person would tell a story about something weird happening to them.The Front RoomInspired by a sermon (or rather an 'address') given by their pastor, Norman and Belinda vow to help those less fortunate than themselves. Since charity begins at home, they agree to take in Solange, Norman's belligerent stepmother, with whom he has always had a fraught relationship. She's installed in the front room, which is refurbished to form a self-contained flat; however, she wastes no time insinuating herself into the household, interfering, terrorising the couple's three children, and Belinda moves from anger to disgust and finally fear at her behaviour. How will it all end? More to the point, will the end really mean the end?Of all the stories in The Travelling Bag, this feels the least typical. Had I not known, I wouldn't have guessed it was written by Hill, and it reminded me most of several entries from the Nightjar Press series of one-story chapbooks. Like 'Alice Baker', there is an ordinariness about it: the modest suburban house, the family dinners. And, as with 'Alice Baker', the realism of these details makes its eventual shift towards the uncanny even more disquieting. Above all, the tales collected here showcase a mastery of atmospheric detail. The appeal of traditional ghost stories is a contradiction – comfort and unease at the same time – and among contemporary writers in the genre, I find Hill's work to be virtually unsurpassed in embodying this. I look forward to more next year, and for many Halloweens to come.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  • Zuky the BookBum
    2019-01-16 16:13

    Short story collections provide a great mix of quick reads, hence why I love them so much! I was really looking forward to this one as I love a good scary story but unfortunately, this one didn’t live up to expectations.I have reviewed each story individually below.~THE TRAVELLING BAGThe first short in the collection didn’t grab me from the get-go. I didn’t feel it was very spooky and I wasn’t really keen on the way it was laid out. I think the chopping and changing of scenes took away from any atmosphere it was attempting to build. However, the ending part of the story changed my opinion! I thought it was really well written and it made me feel completely claustrophobic and panicky.~BOY 21I didn’t enjoy this short story too much. I was hoping for something a bit spooky but this was far more melancholic in tone. The synopsis lead me to believe this one was going to be far more sinister than it turned out to be, so it was a disappointing read for me. I felt bored by this one, it couldn’t hold my attention.~ALICE BAKERCompared to the first two stories in the collection, this one was far creepier! It did well to build a sense of dread and foreboding – reading this late at night I did find myself feeling a little uneasy. However, it wasn’t a clever story, the plot and ending were extremely predictable which was disappointing after feeling more positive about this story over the others.~THE FRONT ROOMThis is definitely my favourite short story from the collection. I actually found this one spooky! Old women characters always give me the heebie-jeebies (even though my own nan is the sweetest human being on earth). I finally felt like this story lived up to my ghost story expectations! The story was simple and predictable but it was filled with the weird and wonderful, so it was enjoyable.~PRINTER’S DEVIL COURTThis was certainly a strange but chilling read, although I felt there was a lot of build up but not enough of a big shocking thing to create a fantastic and terrifying ending. I liked the plot for this one and think it could have been a really well done creepy scary story, but it went a bit soft and lost it’s spooky impact.~I think what I’ve gathered from this collection of short stories, and from knowing the plot of The Woman in Black, is that Susan Hill writes compelling, emotional ghost stories. There’s no doubt that she’s a compelling writer, and is able to create some pretty chilling tension, but most of her stories don’t build into anything big and spooky.I was looking for a scary story collection, which is not something I got from this, so in that sense it disappointed me.

  • Andrew
    2018-12-28 16:06

    Susan Hill is a very accomplished author and I will state here and now I have not read her other journeys through other genres. For me Susan Hill is the author of the modern day ghost story classic - Woman in Black and for me is the quintessential author of classic ghost story.So here we have another short collection (I think there are less than 200 pages) consisting of a number of longer stories all with a macabre twist. To try and explain what you have here is very difficult to do (made all but impossible with my self imposed rule of no spoilers) but what I can say is what you will not find.Susan Hill relies of subtle building of tension - so no violence no sex or gore just a well practiced art of building the tension and suspicion to there point you know something is wrong but you cannot quite put your finger on it. In the tradition of the classic Christmas ghost story or of the works of M R James your imagination is your own worst enemy and the true source of your apprehension.If you love your ghost stories I would strongly suggest you look at the works of Susan Hill although to say that is all she writes is to do her a huge disservice just for now I have yet to explore that side of her work.

  • Rachael
    2018-12-25 14:47

    I do enjoy Susan Hill's ghost stories but was left sadly rather unimpressed with this collection.The first story is entertaining but there seem to be some inaccuracies (how can the narrator recount an event he wasn't party to and to which nobody spoke of?) The ending was predictable but well written nonetheless.Boy Twenty-one is exactly the kind of ghostly tale I usually enjoy, but it felt a little lacking. I was left with a lot more questions than answers and it felt a little unfinished. I think this would have really benefitted by being lengthened into a novella, it deserves more.The last two stories, again, felt rushed at the end. Both stories were wonderfully set and the anticipation was building beautifully... only to finish with a whimper and a short whimper at that.I love Susan Hill's writing and I like these stories, but they all deserved more space and more time. Sometimes a short, sharp, shock of an ending is a perfectly delicious climax, but these stories just felt like they'd run out of steam.

  • Roman Clodia
    2019-01-03 16:56

    These are elegantly written, as Hill's stories always are but lack the chill of her best ghostly work. We do get to see the range of her imagination from the Victorian setting of 'The Travelling Bag' to the unusual 1950s suburbia of 'The Front Room', the weakest of the tales. 'Boy Number 21' is gorgeously melancholic as two lonely boys form an undying friendship, and 'Alice Baker' is a mildly humorous take on the office story, though with a frisson underlying it.Nicely told and crafted, but don't expect to be looking over your shoulder with these.Thanks to Profile Books for an ARC via NetGalley.

  • Zoe Stanford
    2018-12-27 12:06

    How the title story got past an editor I have no idea...

  • Patrick Kiernan
    2018-12-30 09:04

    The Travelling bag by Susan Hill is a collection of short ghost stories in the classic English ghost story form. These stories remind me of M.R. James and other famous ghost writers I would recommend this book to any reader who enjoys the old style of ghost stories. My favourite story in this collection was the same as the title of the collection it has that classic feel that I really enjoy. I have only one criticism is that this book isn't original, so for that reason I'll rate this a four star’s out of five. I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest unedited feedback. I would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the chance to read and review this collection.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-07 09:50

    This was a mixed bag for me. Out of the four short stories contained within this book, only two gave me the creeps. The other two didn't do much for me at all, sadly.

  • Laura
    2019-01-12 13:58

    Susan Hill has made a mint from 'The Woman in Black', but the success of this work has had two unfortunate consequences. First, it has led to the neglect of her very fine earlier novels, 'Strange Meeting' and 'I'm the King of the Castle'. Second, and more seriously, it has encouraged the belief that she is good at writing ghost stories. What is becoming more and more obvious is that she only has two plot lines, which are adapted in ingenious but ultimately tedious ways in successive collections. The notion that a supernatural agency can abduct a virtuous innocent was darkly thrilling in Sheridan Le Fanu's 'Schalken the Painter', but back in 1839, it was a lot more original than the stuff Hill serves up in 'The Man in the Picture' and, in this collection, 'The Front Room', a splicing-together of 'The Woman in Black' and a duller contemporary debate about how best to look after unpleasant elderly relatives. Parents always say that what they fear most is something happening to their children. Hill loves this idea, but its reiteration in successive stories is becoming very wearying.Hill's other plotline is the ingenious revenge. The title story of this collection is just such a tale, but it's ludicrous despite the fluency of the writing and some broadly insightful psychology. It's the sort of thing you might find in an Edwardian such as Richard Marsh, whose 'A Psychological Experiment' at least has crude vigour on its side.Hill's seasonal ghost stories are really nicely packaged and make for attractive 'point of sale' collectables. This one is reasonably coherent, unlike the dull and absurd 'Dolly', but it is also very hackneyed, even for those who have only read Hill's other ghostly tales. Forty years ago, Julia Briggs said that the English ghost story would die out because of its obsessive nostalgia. Hill would seem determined to make this prophecy come true.

  • Rose English
    2019-01-14 12:51

    Book 04 of my Goodreads Challenge and everything you could expect from Susan Hill This book attracted me because of the embossed dust cover so beautiful (being a touchy feely kind of book lover). Fans of 'The Woman in Black will surely love this a I did.A collection of four short stories The Travelling Bag should really come with a warning especially for those of a nervous disposition and a phobia of fluttery creatures. It is a tale within a tale set in old Victorian times. A story of revenge. When a hardworking scientist falls ill the student he is mentoring steals his research papers and then disappears to return later an eminent scientist himself.Boy Twenty-One a wonderful ghost story about two lonely boys who become friends I loved this one.Alice Baker a story of mystery and intrigue, will the office girls get to the bottom of the fact that Alice Baker is a hard worker, no one knows a thing about her and there is often an unpleasant smell surrounding her. Finally The Front Room the creepiest and scariest story in the collection. The reason I picked up another lighter book to read to get the images out of my head.Very highly recommended for fans of Susan Hill

  • Andy Weston
    2018-12-23 09:12

    It's difficult to score a book of four short stories. Two of them are good, one of them average, and one poor, so a 4 out of 5. Overall though I'm disappointed by the latest from the very wonderful Susan Hill. Her ghost story novellas are without exception some of the best in that genre since Shirley Jackson and the classics. I can only imagine that she felt there wasn't enough substance in any of these stories individually to turn one of them into a novella. The title story, The Travelling Bag, must have come close. More than twice while reading it I was reminded of Poe. I expect he has been a great influence and I expect Hill would see this as a compliment. In The Front Room she also creates tension and that sort of atmosphere associated with her earlier stuff. But the other two stories fall quite flat.

  • Bill Lynas
    2018-12-20 09:09

    Reading a Susan Hill ghost story is always enjoyable. They are quietly atmospheric & although there are never huge scares she gently raises the tension to make them entertainingly creepy. The four short stories in this collection show her talent is not diminishing. Of course being English ghost stories they show, as always, that anyone experiencing frightening events can be calmed down with a nice cup of hot, sugary tea.

  • Clair
    2019-01-07 16:46

    The Travelling Bag and other Ghostly Stories contains 4 short tales all eloquently written in Susan Hill’s gothic style. They are all spooky stories that slowly creep up on you rather than gory horror. As the atmosphere within each one slowly builds up like a crescendo of eeriness to their creepy finale. Most are in the traditional Gothic style but a couple have a more contemporary setting. These are all beautifully crafted to leave a chill down your spine. You do have to let your imagination run wild from the subtle suggestions contained but this just adds to the traditional style.If you’ve loved previous books by Susan Hill definitely give these tales a spin. They are not her best stories however fit beautifully into her collection of work. I enjoyed all the tales. Each one was different enough to keep my attention. There is nothing groundbreaking in them but all are fine examples of gothic spookiness. They are a quick and easy read I think the total page count for all is less than 200 pages. Perfect to read tucked up in bed on a dark stormy night.Recommended for fans of: traditional ghost stories, spooky talesI received a free advanced reader copy via Netgallery in return for an honest review.

  • Melora
    2018-12-26 17:00

    Unsettling. Disquieting. In these stories the supernatural brushes against us, rather than stomping about rattling its chains. Some of Hill's ghosts are wistful, others savagely malevolent, but their purposes, like their forms, are always indeterminate. As another reader noted, the short story is, perhaps, a better format for Hill's ghost stories than is the short novel (I'm thinking of The Woman in Black and The Small Hand), where she tends to meander around a bit too much. As in those longer stories, though, the tales here offer room for interpretation. The ghostly beings never reveal their secrets, and their intentions are never conclusively established, which readers may find delicious or unsatisfying, depending on taste.

  • Manda
    2019-01-07 16:02

    A collection of 5 easy to read ghostly stories, I read one nightly last week and had no bad dreams!These are soft delightful gothic feeling tales, nothing that is queamish or get those who are easily scared. Entertaining and not Susan Hills best, but still a good solid 4 stars.

  • Kirsty
    2019-01-02 17:13

    I find Hill's fiction a little hit and miss, and this collection was really rather underwhelming. There is nothing chilling about the first story, and whilst I liked the structure - which is reminiscent of the play version of 'The Woman in Black' - I gave up a quarter of the way through.

  • Bruce Gargoyle
    2019-01-01 14:01

    I received this title from Allen & Unwin for review.3.5 starsTen Second Synopsis:A collection of four short ghostly stories, with an emphasis on psychological horror.If this was the first Susan Hill book I had encountered and I read this collection in the traditional fashion (that is, from front to back), I might be forgiven for discarding this book halfway through as sub-par in quality. As this is not my first Susan Hill book, I persevered and am very glad I did so because oddly enough, the final two stories of the four far outshine the first two in psychological creepiness and general paranormal entertainment. But let us address each of the stories in turn, in the traditional fashion; that is to say, from front to back.The collection opens with The Travelling Bag, a story of professional betrayal and revenge told from a third person's perspective and set in Victorian times. This one certainly felt like it was going to be a spine-tingling paranormal winner, with a mystery immediately set up and the listener (as well as the reader) left in suspense for a spell. The actual reveal felt a bit light for me though and I didn't contract any of the sense of fear that the main character was supposedly feeling. Overall, this story had a strong build-up, but petered off at the end.Next up is Boy Twenty-One, which I thought I might enjoy the most, but ended up completely forgetting about as soon as I'd read it. The story is set in a boarding school and centres around the friendship of two lonely boys. This one felt as if it was either unplanned or unfinished - as if the author had a number of options with how to link the threads of the story together, but couldn't decide which would be best and so ended up finishing the story abruptly with no real answers and no particular sense of mystery. I literally did find this story so forgettable that I couldn't remember anything about it before writing this review even though I'd only just finished the book a day or two ago and I had to go back and flick through it again.Happily, the third story, Alice Baker, finally employs some good old-fashioned creep-factor with a ghostly, mind-twisty traditional sort of tale about the workers in a women's typing pool (or similar). This story has more of what you would expect from the term "ghost story" with obvious clues left about for clever readers, a slow build and the inevitable abrupt shock and reveal. The ending probably won't be much of a surprise to anyone who has ever read (or heard) a ghost story before, but there is something deliciously delightful about being drawn along with a character on a path toward certain fright.The final story, The Front Room, was far and away the best of the lot in my opinion, employing psychological twists, and playing on familial and religious themes in all the right places to evoke the shiver-down-the-spine effect. In this story, an ordinary family are inspired, after hearing their pastor's weekly sermon about charity, to invite the husband's elderly step-mother to live with them. The tale takes the stereotypical "evil stepmother" trope to a whole new level, ending with a surprise and a lingering feeling of ickiness that will have you reconsidering inviting anyone to your place ever again.On the whole, the final two stories of the collection really saved this one for me and with the first being passable, I'd have to say that this is another enjoyably scary offering from Susan Hill. Others may have different opinions about Boy Twenty-One (and I'd love to hear your take on it if you've read it!), but if that story had been left out or replaced, this is definitely a book I would rave about. As it stands, if you are looking for a suitably quick and frightening story to get you in the mood for Halloween, you should find what you are looking for in The Travelling Bag and Other Ghostly Stories.

  • Sam
    2018-12-21 08:58

    While technically speaking this isn't actually a classic each story is written in the style of traditional Victorian Gothic stories, with nothing explained explicitly and your imagination allowed to run wild from the hints and suggestions provided. There are four stories in this collection, each one just as chilling as the next and yet just as heartfelt and heartbreaking. The title story is told as a fireside tale by a psychic detective as he recounts an old case of two academic, one of whom steals the research of the other to achieve great success while the other becomes bitter and cynical until one day he sees an opportunity for revenge, a revenge that goes horribly wrong. The second story is a chilling yet sad story about a lonely orphan boy, now grown, reflecting on an friendship that helped him through his early years but turns out to be more unusual than he realised at the time. The third story, Alice Baker, is set in an office where Alice starts as the new girl with all her strange quirks and odd behaviours. As the team moves to a new office, things begin to get stranger until one night things take a leap for the worse. And yet there is something sad and devastating behind it all. The final story, the Front Room, is the most disturbing as it shows that you are not safe in your own home with your family and that a good deed is not always returned.

  • Emily Woolford
    2018-12-22 16:57

    This book wasn't too bad but I'm sad to say I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped. The first story was ok. I liked that the main character was sort of an investigator of the paranormal, but the story itself wasn't particularly captivating.The second was a little spooky and I like the element of a child ghost but it wasn't as dark as Hill's other stuff has been known to be, and there didn't seem much point to it apart from the fact that the young boy became a ghost. I was a bit like, is that it? The third dragged and I felt like Hill waffled on a bit, however the character Alice Baker seemed really interesting, and the ending was strange and exciting.And the fourth, similarly to the third dragged until the ending became interesting, but the story was weak.If all of these stories were developed they would be better because I feel like they have great potential. I usually do enjoy short stories especially by Susan Hill, but I thought these particular short stories were lacking something. The ideas were there, and there was a vibe of what could've been some great ghost stories, but I believe they were cut too short.

  • David Stringer
    2018-12-31 08:52

    As it's Halloween time it felt appropriate to read a scary ghost book, a genre I have never read and must confess avoid (even films) as I'm a bit of a big wuss. So when recommended this, a book written by the author that I'm told wrote the very scary 'Woman in Black' thought this seemed a good place to start the genre.And this book includes four short stories: The Travelling Bag, Boy Twenty-One, Alice Baker and The Front Room. I got quite into the first story, but I do like my pre-Victorian style London stories, with one friend in a gentlemen's club sharing a tale to another. The writing flow's well and easily, as you fly through the four stories with ease, the Author is obviously at the top of her game.But why the dropped stars. Although majority of the stories are a little, creepy, none had me spooked which I kind of expected! I'm a wuss remember. So was disappointed with that, but stars given as a nice easy read.

  • Helen
    2019-01-17 15:04

    I wonder how this came to print, with the editor seemingly on holiday. The first story, the title of the book, 'The Traveling Bag' is a short story but riddled with typos. I counted nine in the first twenty pages. Some look to be just your average Kindle typos, but there are others which cannot be attributed to some poor transfer. Names of characters are erroneously mixed up, as at the start of chapter three, where Silas Webb is confused with Walter Craig... "He had always judged Webb to be a grey man", etc. The main gripe is that the stories are silly, not scary, not even the slightest bit chilling. It's all over-prodded and the punchline glares from the second page. The writing is heavy handed, with lots of confusion over timelines, and all the opportunities to work on that promising hook are left to waste. I'm glad I only spent £1.99 for the Kindle version and didn't buy the hardback for three times the price.

  • Naomi Hewitt
    2019-01-02 14:56

    A classic collection of creepy little stories- don't make my mistake and read them before you go to sleep! Alice Baker is a particularly good one I think but the others are good too.

  • Aliss
    2019-01-15 08:52

    A quick, short read which grips you right through to the end. Four ghostly tales, each sharing an unsettling atmosphere. Each story is based in a different period but share characters who are troubled by unusual goings on. My favourite was the last one, 'The Front Room', which I found to be the darkest of the four stories.

  • Elanna
    2018-12-29 17:10

    Classic ghost stories, so classic that they trespass into clichéed territory. There are uneasiness and creepiness at moments, but the overall narrative does not keep together. Plus, characters' reactions in front of the supernatural are not convincing at all. It's a pity, because there are glimpses of good psychological insight hinting at a narrator with some potential. Being this valid for all four stories, I am not sure whether I should give this writer a second chance.Anecdotal: the evil grandmother seems pretty much molded on my own maternal grandmother. Even as an atheist with much respect for the gray areas in ethical matters, "evil" has always been the only word seemingly fit to describe her. Luckily enough, she was also too self-centred to even think of doing what the satanic granny does in the end of the short story...

  • Marina
    2018-12-22 10:07

    Four well-written, atmospheric ghost stories, except the title story which has no ghosts but does have a big inconsistency in it. I didn't find the first three stories scary ("The Front Room" was a bit), but I had inexplicable nightmares two days in a row, and trouble sleeping. I was also expecting gaslamp fantasy, but the last two stories are in a modern setting, and that kills the mood a bit. Other than that, a very nice collection, I'll definitely read more of Susan Hill.

  • MelissaWilliams
    2018-12-29 09:00

    I wanted to like this book, as a huge fan of Susan Hill but sadly, this book simply didn't hit the mark. A collection of ghostly tales that, to be honest, were far too tame for my taste and lacked originality. I lost interest in the second story in particular by about 5 pages in. I thoroughly enjoyed the final story, however, and so that is how I ended up rating 3 stars. I miss Susan's edge and her bite!

  • Carol
    2018-12-29 12:01

    I really like some of Susan Hill's writing; mainly the older stuff: 'Strange Meeting' and 'Woman in Black' are sublime. And her short stories 'A Bit of Singing and Dancing', and 'The Albatross etc' are so well crafted, This latest collection of 4 short spooky stories each has a superb basic idea, vividly created characters and atmospheres, the style is engaging and it 'flows', but the plot resolutions are clunky and unconvincing; and the spookiness is entirely lost.