The Woman in Black by M.Y. Halidom
Hardcover – Ash-Tree Press – 2007 – 159 pages
Supernatural novel first printed in 2009. Introduction by Richard Dalby.
Sir Ashley Carruthers, recently returned from the Boer War, is finding it difficult to settle into the surroundings of the country house bequeathed to him by his father. Irritated that the local ‘gentry’ are determined that he should be married to one of their own, settle down, and raise a family, he sets off one Sunday to visit an old friend. Finding him absent, Carruthers decides to travel on to visit other friends in a nearby village. A church bell summons him to a small country church where he decides to attend the evening service; it is during the service that he finds himself seated next to the beautiful and mysterious Woman in Black.
The vicar’s strange sermon text—’I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves’—puzzles Carruthers; but more puzzling is the reaction of the vicar when his eyes fall on the face of the Woman in Black: the colour drains from his face and he collapses senseless to the floor of the pulpit.
Who is this Woman in Black? Why has she struck fear into the heart of the Reverend Jabez Waldegrave? What is her part in the sudden illness which strikes Carruthers? Why, when she is detained by the police, does she transform from a beautiful woman into an old hag? What part is played by the mysterious ring she considers so important to her?