The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story

The Woman in Black - Susan Hill, John Lawrence 2.5-3.5 starsHere's the difference in my rating: The story has great potential and all the elements of a truly frightful, mind-twisting ghost story. But the story, itself, isn't much and yet it's drawn out as much as it can be through the 160+ pages. The book starts several years ahead of the event, which is confusing. What has all of this to do with the Woman in Black and the actual story? Not until the telling of ghost stories begins, do we realize that this idyllic scene is to contrast with what is to come. There are hints of it in the back story that Arthur Kipps supplies for us, but scant hints. Nothing of substance. And that's what I find this entire book - nothing of substance.When Kipps does actually tell us the story, it's in fits and starts - again, lots of background that doesn't really add much, IMO. An entire town that doesn't talk of this ghostly apparition? NO ONE will give Kipps the proper warning? No one gossips enough to provide any details? Kipps literally walks into and through this story without any real knowledge of what is happening or supposed to be happening to him. The terror is in the sounds and in his head, as the Woman in Black plays with him. But to what end? Why does she plague him now? Is it only because there is a new victim to plague with her evil? That question is never answered, and it's quite unsatisfactory.The ending is not unexpected, given the information that we've already received from Mr. Kipps. But it is a bit shocking. And very unsatisfying, as again, we have to wonder WHY - why him? Why now? What grievance has the Woman in Black against Arthur Kipps that she came after him 2-3 years after the whole horrid events at Eel Marsh House?I understand this is a successful play in London. And, of course, the movie is debuting in the U.S. in February. The movie, starring Daniel Radcliffe, looks terrifying. Perhaps the movie will be able to do what that book cannot?