The Small Hand by Susan Hill, is sadly just a bunch of small scares and a storyline that seems to have stumbled into the wrong book.
Short nitty gritty plot description from Susan Hill website is as follows: Returning home from a visit to a client late one summer’s evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow takes a wrong turning and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiosity, he approaches the door, and, standing before the entrance feels the unmistakable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, ‘as if a child had taken hold of it’.
After having thoroughly enjoyed The Woman in Black, I am left rather disappointed after finishing The Small Hand. It’s a short, albeit skillfully written read and unfortunately the scares are few and far between. A couple chilling moments do happen to pop up (e.g. a small boy mysteriously appearing during a rainy drive, is one prime example), but the scares are never enough to give you goosebumps.
The Small Hand reads as if two separate stories are put
together. On one hand (no pun intended), you have the ghost story, an
intriguing mystery that ends with a whimper; on the other hand, you have
Adam’s job, an interesting look into antique book collecting.
Unfortunately, putting the two together resulted in a story that went no
Susan Hill does have a wonderful way with words and an uncanny ability to weave a compelling story with hardly any effort. Unfortunately with this book, I found that too much time was spent away from the ghost aspect of the story and more chapters were dedicated to Adam Snow’s job, than the actual mystery that was introduced at the beginning of the book. The White House that Adam stumbles upon and the creepy introduction to the small hand shortly after, is pushed to the side. Once we do start finding out more about the mystery behind it all, it ends rather abruptly and unsatisfactorily, with a lot of loose ends not tied up.
Conclusion time! With The Small Hand‘s misplaced plot and lack of scares, if you’re a fan of great ghost stories, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.