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The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black Chapter 1 Summary

Christmas Eve

  • When the book opens, Arthur Kipps is sharing some fascinating thoughts about how he's always been affected by the weather.
  • He describes how he came to live at Monk's Piece and stumbled across it while out on a ride with his employer, Mr. Bentley.
  • Arthur is a solicitor (that's a lawyer, for you Americans) and has worked with Mr. Bentley for many years.
  • Now he's married to a woman named Esmé and lives in Monk's Piece with her four children from a previous marriage; they have been happily settled for fourteen years.
  • No, not that Esmé.
  • It's Christmas Eve and Arthur is at home with Esmé and her children when the boys begin telling ghost stories.
  • Brain snack: telling ghost stories is actually a Christmas tradition. Remember A Christmas Carol? If you ask us, Santa is a spooky dude.
  • Anyway, Arthur tries to be cool with it, but he's uneasy. When Edmund asks him to join in, he pretty much leaves in a huff and goes to walk outside.
  • Eventually he rejoins the party, but not before deciding to write down the story of what happened to him when he went to Crythin Gifford so many years ago.
  • And now the real story begins.
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