Sunday, 12 October 2014

Review | Printer's Devil Court by Susan Hill


by Susan Hill

My Rating: 

A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times. 

Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves. 

What's this? A book review on a Sunday! I know I don't usually post anything during the weekend, but I finished this little book this morning and found myself reviewing it over on Goodreads so I figured I might as well share it here, too. Especially as Halloween is approaching!

I like Susan Hill. I first came across The Woman in Black when I was about 15 and it scared the life out of me. When it comes to the traditional ghost story, Hill is up there with the best. Sadly, this story really disappointed me.

I hadn't realised Hill had released a new ghost story until I stumbled across it in my local library, and as Halloween is approaching I figured now would be the best time to borrow it. I'm a big fan of Gothic Literature that deals with themes such as re-animation and medical advancement gone wrong, like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher, so I was excited to read Printer's Devil Court and be thoroughly creeped out.

Sadly, it just didn't work for me. I didn't find the story spooky in the slightest, though there were some parts that made me a little sad. For the most part I was just bored. It isn't a long story at all, and yet it took me two days to get through it because I didn't feel like I had to know what was going to happen next. In fact if it were any longer I probably would have given up because I found the narrator so dull - he could have been any narrator from any story and I wouldn't have noticed the difference - and there was also the unfortunate inclusion of the "beautiful dead woman", which is a trope I am so tired of seeing in stories. Especially stories with male protagonists. It's creepy, and frankly if I saw someone dead or almost dead my first thought wouldn't be to mention that they're hella cute.

On top of that the edition I read had quite a few mistakes and typing errors throughout that just threw me off. I don't expect to find so many mistakes in so little a book, especially not when it's been published. That's more the editor's fault than anyone else's and I know it doesn't really affect the story in any way, but I found it distracting.

Sadly, it just wasn't for me, but I'll still read more Hill in future.

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