Book review: The secret of Crickley Hall–James Herbert

I saw this was to be on TV before Christmas and so I programmed by box to record it, and there it sat hidden amongst the backlog of viewing I have to catch up on.  Being a James Herbert fan I couldn’t watch the programme without reading the book so I repurchased a copy of the book to refresh my memory.

In typical James Herbert fashion this is a ghost story, set in an old house with plenty of history.  There is an unsuspecting family and some helpful and hostile locals – all the ingredients of a classic ghost story, of which this is one.

We get to know a little about the family and their recent bereavement and their reasons to moving away to Crickley Hall.  Little clues are given about the house, starting with their dog and building up to strange rattles in the cupboards.  James Herbert builds the suspense well and you feel drawn in to the plight of the family.

The story brings in past residents of Crickley Hall, and even the pupils at the local school as we meander through the story, picking up speed towards to the exciting conclusion.  With twists and surprises along the way, there is plenty in this book to keep the reader entertained.  I’ve read it twice now and I enjoyed it both times – although not one of his best novels this is well worth a read.

I did eventually get around to watching the TV miniseries and was disappointed within 5 minutes of the first episode starting.  TV adaptations are never as good as the book, as things need dropping to make time, or because of the watershed.  Stick to the book and give the TV series a miss.

(On Amazon I gave this 4/5 stars)