The Travelling Bag

And Other Ghostly Stories

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Pub Date 28 Sep 2017 | Archive Date 25 Sep 2017


From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the bestselling author of The Woman in Black. In the title story, on a murky evening in a club off St James, a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building. A lonely boy makes a friend in 'Boy Number 21', but years later is forced to question the very nature of that friendship. 'Alice Baker' tells the story of a mysterious new office worker who is accompanied by a lingering smell of decay. And in 'The Front Room', a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and afterwards. This paperback edition includes the chilling 'Printer's Devil Court' in which three medical students make an unholy pact whose consequences will pursue one of them to the grave - and perhaps beyond. This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically creepy and surprising tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave you wide-awake long into the night.

From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the...

Advance Praise

‘Traditional ghost stories of wonderful elegance ... Hill builds an atmosphere of creepiness in very few words; the pictures she creates in these stories are unforgettable’ Kate Saunders, The Times              

‘Hill knows how to chill you to the bone in the most disarming way ... This collection digs deep into the human psyche, exploring its hinterland for paranormal disturbance ... With consummate artistry, Hill creates stories that prowl around your mind, coming at you from unexpected angles, invading your senses. Perhaps read them out loud to a friend? Advantage: there's safety in numbers.’ Daily Mail                              

‘Spine-tingling ... chilling ... a skilfully crafted collection to delight fans of the supernatural ... Read it home alone at your peril.’ Daily Express

‘Traditional ghost stories of wonderful elegance ... Hill builds an atmosphere of creepiness in very few words; the pictures she creates in these stories are unforgettable’ Kate Saunders, The...

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ISBN 9781781256206
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Average rating from 28 members

Featured Reviews

A collection of ghost stories that didn't scare me but certainly held my interest. Told in the classic style as one would expect of Susan Hill. I could well imagine reading these stories snuggled up by a blazing fire on a winters day.

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Four short story ghost stories from an author who has a good background in ghostly tales.

The title story reminded me of a Sherlock Holmes tale in the setting and telling of the tale. The story with the ending you guess early on, although that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the story.

Boy Twenty One and Alice Baker both have you thinking about the endings. Boy Twenty One in particular gets the brain ticking over in possible scenarios before you reach the end of the story.

The Front Room is the most chilling tale in the collection. A wise warning about having your mother-in-law living with you!

Classic ghostly tales, perfect for when the nights are drawing in.

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Ooo, I woke up in the night after reading this, and couldn't keep my mind from thinking through this collection of ghost stories again. Highly recommend for those who like a bit of haunting and old-fashioned chills. Well written, quick reads. Aside from the title track, the other three stories surprised me with their twists...

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This group of ghost stories are classic Susan Hill and will not fail to appeal to her fans. The settings aren't modern but faintly timeless and as such add to the atmosphere and eeriness as normal, everyday events and situations turn to the horrific stuff of nightmares. Although separate and unconnected, I would suggest that the stories are read in the sequence in which they are presented as the sense of uneasiness progresses and develops with each tale.

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A collection of 4 ghostly tales from Susan Hill. Three stories are outlined in the description above – each took me around half an hour to read and the whole book is around 180 pages in length. I have my favourites, Boy Number 21 and the unmentioned 4thstory (Alice Baker - a chiller set in an office) were the two which gripped me most.

The Front Room is particularly grim reading but I found it didn’t draw me in quite in the way the other stories had done. I find that Ghost Stories are harder to pitch as a collection – while all the stories can be creepy, different people respond to different types of chills so in any collection there will be elements which impact people in different ways.

I do enjoy a creepy tale and The Travelling Bag was the welcome break from reading crime thrillers that I had hoped it would be. The physical book looks rather nice too but its relatively short length made me think it may be more likely to be given as a gift than one a reader may seek out on their own.

Fans of Susan Hill and readers who soak up ghost stories this is one to seek out.

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These are 0f a set of short ghost stories very much in the style of the usual Susan Hill books. They have an air of creepiness and menace about them but not grotesque horror or gruesomeness. The title story has a psychic private investigator, Gilbert, telling the story of Walter Craig, a gifted medical scientist, to Tom Williams, a retired bishop. Walter is engaged in ground breaking research when he begins to suffer from a debilitating illness. He takes on a assistant, Silas Webb, who is able to do what is required of him. After another bout of crushing illness, William returns to work and finds that Silas has left. It soon becomes apparent that an immense betrayal has taken place which William never recovers from. Years later, a bitter and resentful William takes his revenge only to find the results go further than he intended, for which there will be consequences.

A lonely and unwanted boy, Toby Garrett, finds himself at boarding school. He has an interest in maps and weaves fantasies over made up countries. He unexpectedly finds a friend in new boy, Andreas, and the two become inseparable. Until Andreas disappears. A fire at Cloten Hall guts the building and has Toby wondering if he was in it. A brief reconciliation takes place with the arrival of the 21st boy until once again Tom is alone. Alice Baker is the new self possessed girl in the office. She is hardworking but private. However, attached to her is the odour of death and decay and the old office building has strange things happening. A move to a new building seems like a breath of fresh air until similar problems begin again until Alice disappears. My favourite story is The Front Room, which begins with Pastor Lewis exhorting his congregation to put into action actual good deeds in the world. This sermon finds a receptive audience in Norman and Belinda Irwin with their two children Wallace and Fern. Norman receives a letter from his stepmother, Solange, who highlights her loneliness and isolation in old age, which results in Norman inviting her to live in their home. Norman remembers Solange as a bitter and fractious woman who sucked out any happiness from those around her. When he meets her again years later she appears to be a changed woman, but is she really? Will the Irwins end up paying a terrible price for allowing her entry into their home?

I found these short stories an entertaining and quick read. If you like the understated ghost stories as opposed to the heavily dramatic ones, then you will probably like this collection. Many thanks to Serpent's Tail for an ARC.

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I don't usually read short stories, but enjoyed this book.

It made me want to sit around a campfire with a group of friends to tell these spooky stories.

Thank you netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

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Another cracking little book of short horror stories from the master of the art, Susan Hill. You won't find jump scares here but building atmosphere and chills, which make them truly unnerving. Bravo.

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Another corker from the talented Susan Hill - a perfect read for those horror/halloween fans looking for a thrill. I enjoyed reading this very much and enjoyed the short stories. More horror writers need to release similar books. 4 stars

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Although Susan Hill will of course always be remembered as the author of the "The Woman in Black" she has written other tales of the supernatural which I have personally enjoyed reading. These include such books as "Printers Devil Court", "Dolly" and "The Man in the Picture" which can be categorised as the traditional ghost story and encapsulate for me many of the essences required for a chilling tale which include the permeating sense of foreboding and unease as the story progresses through layers of increasing terror.

There are four stories in this compilation that can easily be read in one siting on a dark and windy evening that turns into night.

The first is the "The Travelling Bag" which begins in the manner of a MR James story, being told over an after dinner brandy in the library of a London club where the "the fire glowed and the lamps cast circles of tawny light". It is the story of obsessional revenge for an act of plagiarism and theft. Recognition is denied and is claimed by someone else who must now bear the consequences of their actions. But when enacting revenge one must also be aware that this may to have consequences that could if you are unlucky emanate from beyond the grave.

"Boy number Twenty One" is another classically derived psychological ghost story. Toby and Andreas have an unseparable schoolboy friendship but two weeks before the end of term Andreas disappears but they meet later in strange circumstances or do they?

"Alice Baker" is a story that will certainly stay in the mind and for me was the most chilling and sad of the four stories here. Alice Baker was the new girl in the office but there is something not quite right about her " a bit off-putting" is the phrase used. What is her secret? Once read I wanted immediately to reread this story again.

The final story is "The Front Room", a chilling tale of "Evil, and the powers of evil" with a terrifying finale. What happens when you invite someone into your house to live with you that has malevolent intent?

A thoroughly enjoyable set of spooky tales that are just right to be read at this time of year. Well worth a read.

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This book was a really marvellous read and very gripping.

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I have enjoyed Susan Hill novels for many years and this set of short stories are just amazing.

Creepy, menacing and gripping in true Hill style will entertain and delight in an atmospheric and spine chilling way.

Susan Hill has written so many good reads I, personally, couldn't choose a favourite. But The Woman in Black and many others have amazed me by this very accomplished writer..

The stories are not gory or gruesome but they are what nightmares are made of and for me they are highly recommended

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I’ve always loved short stories. Roald Dahl’s “Tales of the Unexpected” has long been a firm favourite of mine and more recently I enjoyed Hilary Mantel’s “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.” So when I saw that Susan Hill was bringing out a new collection of ghost stories I was thrilled. Strange Meeting was one of the few books I loved during A-Level English and I later went on to read a few other of her novels.

The Travelling Bag features 4 short stories which you will fall in love with if you’re a ghost story aficionado. My personal favourite was Alice Baker which really gave me the creeps and is so perfect for this spooky time of year.

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New ghost stories? By Susan Hill? Yes please! An anthology of four short stories to keep you company by a crackling fire on a dark, dark night. I love Susan Hill's work, her writing is so elegant and immediately draws me in. The first tale, The Travelling Bag of the title hit right at the heart of my darkest fears as a mottephobe of long standing. The other stories fast forward to more modern times, each with their own unexpected twist . I love this sort of writing, it's clever, chilling and creepy - there are no bloody, slasher moments, thank goodness, just the feel of small hairs standing up and the need to turn around and look behind you. If you've read and enjoyed Hill's brand of quiet horror before then you're in for a treat.

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