82. The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill (2007)
On a particularly bitter January evening, Oliver visits his former tutor, Dr. Theo Parmitter. As the two men sit by the fireside in the professor’s rooms at Cambridge – sipping brandy and reminiscing – Oliver notices an unusual painting hanging on the wall. The seventeenth-century oil painting of masked revellers at a masquerade in Venice draws his eye and utterly fascinates him. Although Oliver asks about the painting, Theo seems extremely reticent about revealing too much about the strange picture.
In order to satisfy his former student’s profound curiosity, the elderly professor decides to reveal the painting’s dark secret. It seems that the ominously dark art of the Venitian scene – instead of imitating life – has the power to entrap it. In fact, the picture is capable of such malevolence, that Dr. Parmitter feels the need to issue a stern warning.
According to his esteemed former tutor, Oliver is dabbling in something he doesn’t understand. Indeed, to even stare at the picture for a prolonged period of time is to court danger. Staring into the painting can be viewed as an invitation to all manner of unseen demons, and to become a victim of the painting’s enthralling and macabre beauty.
This is actually the second book by Susan Hill that I have read. I must say that as much as I sincerely enjoyed reading The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story, I also enjoyed reading this book just as much. In my opinion, Ms. Hill is a tremendous writer. She creates such a wonderfully eerie atmosphere with her writing style; I found the plot to be intricately woven and chillingly satisfying. I give this book a definite A+!
A+! – (96-100%)