The Times recently had a week when it gave away a series of ‘chillers’ clearly designed to appeal to readers looking for something a little bit spooky as the darkness draws in. Among the books there are a couple that are going to be read this week.
The first is We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Things start with a creepy girl wandering through a village where she and her family are clearly feared and as a result are taunted. Through the explanations and experiences of Mary Blackwood it is possible to draw out the family history of the Blackwoods and their once proud position in the neighbourhood.
When you do find out why the family is so feared, through the case of a mass poisoning, and the remaining members Mary and her sister Constance and their Uncle Julian live a very isolated existence in their grand old home.
Although acquitted of the crime of killing her family Constance is unable to leave her home through fear of the unknown and Julian has dedicated his last few years to writing and documenting the events in minute detail on the last day of the family. There detachment and isolation from the world is so complete that apart from the occasional interruption you assume they could stay in that state for a long period.