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” . . .
I received a free copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I read most of this book a long while ago and it’s taking me time to read the rest.
I love Diane Setterfield’s first novel The Thirteenth Tale, I did try my best not to compare the two they are completely different.
Bellman and Black was full of secrets, mystery and very haunting. The writing was beautiful, flowery and melodic. A little slow paced, maybe I am just not used to reading this kind of book. I had theories on what was going to happen, I was very close, but it took me a while to work it all out.
The funeral was very sad and I almost didn’t carry on reading after it. The man in black is very creepy.
Overall an intriguing and well written book that although is a little slow it is a great read.
4 out of 5 stars