Bellman & Black
Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed — he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business — one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave — and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William — a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black"...
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Diane Setterfield (born 1964) is a British author whose 2006 debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, became a New York Times No. 1 best-seller. It is written in the Gothic tradition, with echoes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Her debut novel was turned into a television film.
Before writing, Setterfield studied French Literature at The University of Bristol. Setterfield's PhD is on autobiographical structures in André Gide's early fiction. Setterfield taught at numerous schools as well as privately before leaving academia in the late 1990s. The Thirteenth Tale has been acquired by David Heyman at Heyday Films. It has been adapted for television by Christopher Hampton. It was shown on BBC2 in December 2013 and stars Vanessa ... (more)