Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Traditional ghost story with contemporary twists.
on 15 May 2015
Decent novel for those who enjoy a spooky ghost story with plenty of atmosphere and clever psychological twists.
The plot is complicated, slow to take off and never easy to guess. After a prolonged introduction to the two key characters, a married couple who have settled for what they can get rather than reached for what they want, the story takes off and becomes a rather punchy, dark ghost story with plenty of mystery. There's something happening all of the time to throw you off track. Just when you think you've got a handle of what's happening the author throws in another clue, a different angle, and makes you think again.
The hero of the story is a wealthy man complete with house in the country and membership of a private club in London. There's a lot of hunting, dinner parties and Land Rovers. He's obviously mixed up about a great many things, not the least of which is the strange disappearance of his father years ago, but once he experiences the first in a string of weird events the mystery begins. There's a nice play on the theme of reality v insanity or; is it really down to the supernatural after all?.
'The Girl on the Landing' is melodramatic and brooding. The story runs true to traditional ghost stories from the past in that it's more about building the story than it is about providing shocks. There's much here you'll recognise if you're a fan of supernatural fiction; dilapidated old house in the middle of nowhere, a disappearance, a marriage in trouble and hints of insanity. Paul Torday brings those themes up-to-date while paying obvious homage to much of what has gone before; Rebecca, Turn of the Screw and so forth.
I wouldn't say 'The Girl on the Landing' is scary, at least it wasn't for me, but what the novel has is a slowly building, dark atmosphere and a strong story-line which I found engaging. Didn't put me on the edge of my seat but certainly made me feel uncomfortable.