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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
This is a tale of creeping menace, combining a chilling portrait of a couple's passionless marriage with a good old fashioned ghost story. Torday evokes the Scottish highlands with particular skill. The hills and dark woods surrounding Micheal's estate are filled with strange winds and voices. Nothing is quite what it seems.

At a time when so many writers are...
Published on 2 Mar 2009 by Willie Collins

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
This was an easy read - you could do it in an evening. Unusual background to Michael, the main charater. I did find it a bit far fetched and as is usual with these types of 'ghost' stories, the ending has to be a bit ambiguous. However it was a good story and I was pulled in.
Published on 9 Oct 2009 by Mrs Brown


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 2 Mar 2009
By 
Willie Collins (Seven Dials, London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl On The Landing (Hardcover)
This is a tale of creeping menace, combining a chilling portrait of a couple's passionless marriage with a good old fashioned ghost story. Torday evokes the Scottish highlands with particular skill. The hills and dark woods surrounding Micheal's estate are filled with strange winds and voices. Nothing is quite what it seems.

At a time when so many writers are busy experimenting with form and technique, it is a joy to read a book that focuses so resolutely on great storytelling. Torday is a writer of literary fiction who is also a pleasure to read.

That's not to say the book doesn't have depth or intrigue. The book's eerie tone is reminiscent of 'The Turn of the Screw' or even Robert Browning's terrifying tale 'My Last Duchess.'

Curl up on a dark night, light a flickering candle and prepare for a treat!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable book, although rather predictable, 14 Oct 2009
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I found this book an enjoyable and easily readable book, although the twists and ending were a little predictable. The story concerns the rather staid husband and wife relationship of a reasonably wealthy man, who shares his time between a job as the membership secretary of a London gentleman's club and his rather run-down shooting estate in Scotland, and his wife who dislikes the club environment, most of the members and the Scottish lodge. Not exactly the ingredients for a lively relationship. However, the husband's secret past comes back to haunt them both, and the book culminates in a climax set in Scotland. I can't really say much more about the plot to prevent spoiling, although it is rather predicatble. There is some attempt at supernatural ambiguity woven in, presumably to add interest and keep the reader guessing, but this isn't really too convincing for me. The book explores relationships, mental health, and the extent to which two people can ever really know each other. The book is written in the first person, but with alternating scenes and chapters where the husband and wife are narrating.
Enjoyable, easy reading although not difficult to see where it is all going.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On top form..., 13 April 2009
By 
This review is from: The Girl On The Landing (Hardcover)
Having enjoyed Torday's first novel and been slightly disappointed with his second, this third offering is back on form. It is a gripping story, with a dual narrative perspective, combining a fascinating mix of mythology with the Lamia story ( you may remember Keats' femme fatale) interwoven with mental illness, the emotional climate becoming more tense as the plot develops.

The novel starts off in a rather dry and prosaic manner, charting the dull marriage of two apparently unsuitable people, where everything is predictable and yet the reader can see the humour in the situation.However, in an approach reminiscent of Henry James''The Turn of the Screw', the tension builds up to its nail biting climax, leaving the reader with unanswered questions in true macabre fashion. Effectively written and crafted, I thoroughly recommend this to those who enjoy a good yarn, and who also consider 'what is psychological truth'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to read on a dark winters night, 13 April 2010
By 
T. Wright "2Wright" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I found this to be a good novel to read on a dark winter night for some ghostly Gothic atmosphere - and it is a spooky story full of atmosphere, ideal for picking up at bedtime.

It begins like a ghost story, morphs into a psychological thriller, twists into mental illness, then becomes a murder mystery wrapped in superstition around a love story with elements of the supernatural. You never find out exactly what the main character is (or is not), but you are by no way 'left hanging' and the ultimate ending is intelligently left to the reader. Phew, trying to categorize that one was a bit of a stretch. Don't let that put you off as this book's is kind of spooky mystery full of atmosphere. It's like a modern-day Gothic novel with more than a nod to the old Gothic classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Dorian Gray, The Lady in White, The Pit & the Pendulum, etc., but with a contemporary setting.

It will appeal to young, old, male, female, and has something that will appeal to most (especially if you like novels of suspense, ghosts and a supernatural slant) readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enigmatic and chilling, 5 Jan 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This is a well-written modern take on the gothic/supernatural genre, updated with some important things to say about modern ideas of psychosis, identity and our dependency on drugs to recreate a state of so-called mental `normality'.

Torday flips effortlessly between eerie scenes of possibly haunted paintings and possession drawing on classic ghostly tales by writers like M.R. James; but gives it a The Turn of the Screw spin that leaves us constantly unsure about what is `real' and what is in the mind of Michael.

The beginning, especially, has some very chilling moments that had me reading this with all the lights switched on, and I liked the way the book subtly transforms itself into something different. The tale maintains its enigmatic air right to the end and never resolves itself in any easy manner.

Beautifully plotted, written and imagined, this had me utterly absorbed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Landing a Torbay, 18 Aug 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Girl On The Landing (Hardcover)
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

If you need book plot information, please see the product details or other more comprehensive reviews. I don't want to spoil any of the enjoyment.

Listening to the radio returning late from the theatre one evening, we heard a critical forum discussion on Paul Torbay and the general conclusion was positive, excited and encouraging. On returning home, I "Amazoned" him and there they were.

My wife, a fussy and critical reader for whom I bought them, enjoyed this and recommended them to book-club friends. Enough said.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Page turner, 9 Oct 2009
This was an easy read - you could do it in an evening. Unusual background to Michael, the main charater. I did find it a bit far fetched and as is usual with these types of 'ghost' stories, the ending has to be a bit ambiguous. However it was a good story and I was pulled in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nailbiting entertainment, deeply challenging beneath, 30 Jan 2010
By 
"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them." C.S. Lewis, in the preface to "The Screwtape Letters"

Attractive, likeable, but impoverished Elizabeth Bently, disillusioned by earlier romantic failures and the cautionary example of her own adulterous father, consents to marry wealthy, boring, dependable Michael Gascoigne, unaware that the boring dependability (of which she eventually tires) is maintained only by powerful prescription drugs. When Michael stops taking the drugs, Hell breaks loose, or rather slowly emerges; whether metaphorically only, or literally as well, is for the reader to decide.

Either way, troubling questions remain long after the book is put down. How should society handle those who are outsiders through no fault of their own? What is "normality"? Is it even desirable, given the irrational ways in which even "normal" people often behave? Or is it just the best we have?

And even if I don't believe in devils, what happens if a passing devil should take an interest in me?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immersive tale with unexpected twist, 4 May 2009
By 
Gamma (SF Bay Area) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl On The Landing (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Torday's first novel "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and therefore looked forward to reading "The Girl on the Landing." I found the characters and setting to be immersive - I found myself just pulled into this world of a British upper-crust couple who are sleep-walking through life until something truly unexpected happens. Without giving the plot away, I will say that the novel surprised me, and left me racing to get to the end, only to be scratching my head and wondering what exactly happened (in a good way). I'm glad that Paul Torday took up writing in his 60s (rather than not at all). He has a fresh, unique style and fascinating characters.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but forgettable, 2 Nov 2009
By 
Archy (ALTRINCHAM, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This promises much, perhaps a psychological profile, perhaps a ghost story, perhaps even a look into the nature of reality. Paul Torday can certainly string along an enjoyable yarn. Unfortunately, though, once the root of the issue is revealed it rather descends into a humdrum thriller, with a mental health backdrop that is surely old hat by now.

It's a shame, as I enjoyed both this writer's previous books, and I enjoyed this up to a point. It's just that I'm sure he's capable of so much more. Wilberforce was fascinating, and this is certainly worth a read. There is a truly great book to come from this author, but this one isn't it. He's not quite there yet.
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The Girl On The Landing
The Girl On The Landing by Paul Torday (Hardcover - 19 Feb 2009)
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