Wednesday, October 14, 2015

RIP.X Challenge: The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill


I've had The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill (2007) on my bookshelf for awhile, having purchased it a couple of years ago at a book sale. The RIP.X Challenge gave me a perfect opportunity to read it.

On a cold wintry night, Oliver visits his old university professor, Theo, at Cambridge. The two relax in front of the fire, reminiscing over old times, when they begin to talk about one of Theo's paintings. The painting is of a Venetian scene with revelers in masks. 

After a long look at the painting, Oliver spots the figure of a man being restrained by two people. Who the man was and how Theo came to be in possession of the painting are part of the mystery. Not content to leave the painting alone, Oliver becomes obsessed with it, not realizing the danger.

Susan Hill knows how to create the perfect setting for a story. Much of the The Man in the Picture takes place on various dark, wintry nights. The writing feels very Victorian although the story takes place later. The novel is a fast read at 140 pages. I really enjoyed this tale and found Hill's portrayal of Venice with its dark mystery even in the midst of a carnival to be genuinely creepy. Eerie, haunting, macabre, things that go bump in the night--all these elements make for a page turner of a story.

Have you read The Man in the Picture?

3 comments:

  1. I like this book; I read it last October ... In a lot of ways it reminds me of the stories by Edgar Allan Poe. What a great R.I.P. read!

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  2. I don't read much horror or supernatural but I too did find a book on my shelf that I'm engrossed in. Time travel romance.

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  3. I don't read much horror or supernatural but I too did find a book on my shelf that I'm engrossed in. Time travel romance.

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